9:59 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Study: Local Option Sales Tax Would Generate Significant Revenue, but Burden Louisville Taxpayers

A 1-percent local option sales tax would generate $138 million in revenue for the city, but add to an already heavy burden for Louisville taxpayers.

That's according to a study by a University of Louisville research center released Tuesday.

The report conducted by the Urban Studies Institute was paid for with discretionary funds from Republican Councilman Ken Fleming's office earlier this year.

It is the first official examination of the idea, which is being spearheaded by Mayor Greg Fischer as a way to create additional revenue for Metro Government.

Among the chief findings in the 40-page report is that Louisville has the highest income tax rate among its 14 peer cities at about $7,720 for hypothetical family of four with two income earners. The city also has the third-highest overall tax burden when compared to competitor cities property, income and sales taxes combined. 

Fischer has said the local option isn't a tax increase but rather emphasized it's choice for local voters to invest into the community and fund key capital projects. But according to the study, introducing a 1-percent sales tax would bump Louisville up to the second-highest overall taxed city among its peers.

Fleming says he sponsored the study to examine the economic impact and better inform the public, adding its shows the benefits and pitfalls of the plan.

"This study does a really good job at taking an objective point of view and looking at data that provides both the pros and cons of what we're trying to do," he says. "We should have had this debate last year or two years ago, and we need to have it now to understand where we are economically."

Among the benefits of a local option outlined in the study is it help diversifies the city's revenue stream, which is limited to occupational, insurance premiums and property taxes.

The study says due to Louisville's position as a retail shopping and entertainment center a local option could shift a sizeable percentage of the sales taxes those who live outside the county. The effect could mean residents would enjoy economic windfalls for infrastructure or other capitol projects at a reduced tax price.

And depending on the economy, it estimates anywhere from $140 million to $160 million in projected revenue, which is nearly twice as much as the $95 million a year that Fischer's office estimated.

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The Two-Way
8:14 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Breakthrough? Syria Hints It Might Give Up Chemical Weapons

In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:04 pm

(We most recently updated this post at 4:02 p.m. ET.)

Amid reports that Syrian President Bashar Assad may be willing to give up his chemical weapons, as his strongest ally has suggested he do, the Obama administration expressed skepticism Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Obama: Diplomatic Solution In Syria Is 'Overwhelmingly My Preference'

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 7:16 pm

After much diplomatic wrangling, President Obama on Monday left open the possibility of a diplomatic solution in Syria, saying a proposal allowing Syria to give up its chemical weapons was a "potentially positive development."

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Shots - Health News
7:02 am
Tue September 10, 2013

How Expansion Will Change The Look Of Medicaid

What will Medicaid look like in the future?
University of Michigan

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:22 pm

Starting in January, it will get a lot easier for millions of people across to the country to qualify for Medicaid.

Adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 in 2013) will be able to sign up for Medicaid, under an expansion paid for entirely by the federal government between 2014 and 2017.

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8:18 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

JCPS Board Approves Cell Phone Use For Student Learning In Eight High Schools

Credit Shutterstock.com

Some Louisville students will soon be able to use cell phones in class after the Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously approved waivers for eight high schools Monday night.

Fairdale, duPont Manual, Iroquois, Seneca, Southern, Valley, Waggener and Ballard high schools requested to be exempt from the district's student conduct policy banning cell phone use throughout JCPS facilities.

The board updated the Code of Conduct this year to allow schools to apply for waivers as long as they seek board approval.

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7:38 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Congressman Brett Guthrie Voting Against Syria Resolution

Congressman Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.

After receiving a classified security briefing, Kentucky Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie is opposing the Obama administration's resolution to launch military strikes against Syria.

The announcement comes as the rest of Kentucky's congressional delegation is either vocally opposing or questioning the president's request to authorize action against the Assad regime.

Fellow Republican congressmen Andy Barr, Thomas Massie and Ed Whitfield have all voiced opposition.

In a statement to WFPL, longtime Kentucky lawmaker Hal Rogers says he wants "precise" details before deciding.

And the lone Democrat in the federal delegation, Congressman John Yartmuth, told WFPL he remains unconvinced by the Obama administration's arguments.

Guthrie says he is voting against the resolution because none of the information shared by Obama's national security advisors on Monday is persuasive enough to support military action.

"There is no doubt that the Middle East is ripe with conflict and that the chemical weapons attack against the Syrian people on August 21 was horrific," Guthrie said in a statement. "But I do not believe that a bombing campaign against the Assad regime would be appropriate, and may even further enflame regional tensions."

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Local News
6:36 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Judge Rules Indiana's Right-to-Work Law Unconstitutional

INDIANAPOLIS — A Lake County judge has determined Indiana's right-to-work law violates a provision in the state constitution barring the delivery of services "without just compensation."

Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia found that the law wrongly requires unions to represent workers who do not pay dues. Indiana became the 23rd state in the nation to ban the collection of mandatory fees for representation from unions.

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6:30 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Withdrawal of Large Donations Rare, but Centre College's Reputation Shouldn't Suffer

Credit Centre College

The failure of a $250-million donation to Centre College to come through is an uncommon event in higher education fundraising, but the Danville liberal arts college should weather it fine, said the leader of a professional organization for education advancement.

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5:31 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

State Sen. Julie Denton Hopes to Bring 'Integrity' to Louisville Metro Council

State Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, is running for Metro Council
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Saying she wants to bring integrity to City Hall, Republican state Sen. Julie Denton is forgoing re-election to run for Louisville Metro Council next year.

The surprise move means the longtime state lawmaker is leaving the GOP-controlled Senate, where she currently chairs the chamber’s Health and Welfare Committee, for a council dominated by Democrats.

"I've tried to play well with both sides of the aisle in both chambers while in Frankfort. I've never been a chairman who decided what bills are going to be heard based upon who the support of the bill was," says Denton. "If somebody's got good public policy I think we need to be moving that forward."

Joined by a handful of council Republicans who are supporting Denton's early bid, she is running on a platform to bring transparency and accountability to Metro Government.

Asked about the council's public image in the aftermath of the Barbara Shanklin removal trial, Denton says it was an unfortunate moment in council history that has put a "dark cloud" over the chamber.

"I wasn't there to hear the testimony and only read what was on the news. But based on the fact the majority found her guilty I found it surprising that she wasn't removed," she says.

Denton will be running for the seat currently held by Councilman Jerry Miller, who is leaving the council at the end of his term to make a bid for the state House next year.

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5:20 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Businesses, Individuals Challenged To Join JCPS Reading Program

Every Wednesday during the 2012-2013 school year, employees from Creative Alliance carpooled to Byck Elementary School and spent their lunch hour reading with struggling students.

"It was amazing to me how much of a relationship I developed with my reader," says Mark Rosenthal, creative director for Creative Alliance.

This year, Creative Alliance will do it again, and Rosenthal is calling on more businesses to help Jefferson County Public Schools meet its 1,500 volunteer goal for the Everyone1Reads literacy program. 

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