Calling it a case of “political bullying” Louisville Metro Council Republicans are demanding Budget Committee Chair Marianne Butler step down after failing to deliver a list of their spending priorities to the mayor’s office.
This comes a week after WFPL News reported on the lack of city-funded projects in East End districts in Mayor Greg Fischer’s 2014-15 budget proposal.
Nearly $64 million has been allocated in the proposed capital budget, but none of the projects are in areas represented by council Republicans.
In a June 2 letter, Councilman Kevin Kramer, R-11, the GOP caucus chair, said Butler failed to “accept responsibility” for for not passing the funding requests along to the mayor. He then asked for her resignation.
Read Kramer’s letter here:
Last week, Butler told WFPL she had not received any correspondence outlining the GOP’s budget needs. She recanted shortly later, claiming the Republican wish list arrived late.
An April 28 e-mail, however, showed it was Butler who asked lawmakers to provide her office with a list to relay to the Fischer administration.
“Colleagues I sent you an e-mail asking about capital projects can you please send me the list by May 4,” Butler wrote in the e-mail. “Please include any capital projects in Metro you are interested in the administration is considering a small bond there may be some additional room for a projects.”
The Republicans then sent a list of $3.1 million worth of capitol projects. It arrived three days ahead of Butler’s deadline. Their request including $50,000 renovations to the historic Locust Grove farm.
Republicans are calling on Council President Jim King, a Democrat in charge of committee chair assignments, to name a replacement.
In a released statement, King did not directly address calls for Butler to step down. Instead, he emphasized the need for cooperation.
“The budget process has been collaborative and bipartisan these last four years. It has resulted in budgets that had broad support on both sides of the aisle” King said.
“Councilwoman Butler and I are committed to addressing any concerns shared by our colleagues about capital projects.”
A handful of council Democrats blasted their GOP colleagues for demanding Butler step down, saying she has overseen an amiable process.
“The Republicans are asking for the resignation of Councilwoman Butler, which is bringing politics into the process,” Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, D-13, the Democratic caucus chair, said in a released statement.
“Councilwoman Butler is in her fourth year as Budget Chair and has been fair and equitable every year on getting our council projects. She looks out for the community as a whole while helping members from both sides of the aisle.”
Other Democrats said that their own districts did not receive capitol funding in Fischer’s budget this year either. However, a review of the mayor’s proposal shows just three of the 17 Democratic districts lack those projects.
GOP lawmakers counter that Louisville’s population has surged in the East End and that it deserves adequate funding.