Noise & Notes

On Noise & Notes, WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey doesn't just discuss the issues, he dissects them. From city government to national politics, Phillip has covered it all. 

Pages

Politics
5:00 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Councilman Rick Blackwell Pulls Support for Insurance Premium Tax Hike

Democratic Councilman Rick Blackwell
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, is pulling his support of an ordinance to help pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by raising the city’s tax on insurance premiums.

The proposal was introduced by Democratic lawmakers this week, and seeks to increase the tax by one percentage point to raise an estimated $9.7 million.

Supporters argue going from a 5 to 6 percent rate represents a small increase per month for average residents.

In an e-mail message sent Feb. 11 to Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9—the bill's chief sponsor—the Jefferson County attorney’s office said it is "unconstitutional" to designate public funding exclusively for affordable housing

Any new revenue would have to go through the general fund first, and that is unraveling the bill's support.

"I think it’s problematic if it’s not a dedicated source. That’s what people had signed on for," says Blackwell. "It was supposed to be a way to take care of some of the issues in our neighborhoods with the abandoned and foreclosed on homes. And if it’s not dedicated to that I think you’ll have a hard time keeping sponsors and keeping people on board to vote for it."

Read more
Developing
1:30 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Council Democrats Propose Tax Increase to Pay for Housing Trust Fund

A handful of Louisville Metro Council Democrats are proposing to raise the insurance premium tax by 1 percentage point to pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The ordinance would increase the premiums on policies such as life, casualty, home and automobile insurance from 5 percent to 6 percent.

It is estimated raising the tax will generate an additional $9.7 million in revenue towards the city's general fund. Supporters of the ordinance admit other council members may want to use new funds to fill the project $13 million budget shortfall or shore up the city's depleted road fund.

Besides housing issues, the legislation specifically speaks to the "acute need of road and sidewalk repair" and to improve transportation.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, is one of the seven sponsors of the bill. She says if the increase passes it will last only five years, and that she and others will work to make sure it is used for housing.

"The seven of us are going to do our best to convince a total of 14 of us on the Metro Council when we come to budget negotiations that this new $10 million revenue over the course of the next year should be dedicated specifically to affordable housing issues," she says.

Read more
Politics
5:54 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

H&R Block: Louisville 7th Most Taxed City in America

Credit hrblock.com

H&R Block has released a graph showing what many have said for years, Louisville is one of most tax burdened cities in the country.

The findings are based on a study conducted by the chief financial officer of Washington, D.C.

That reported was touted by Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, as a reason for Mayor Greg Fischer's administration to think twice about pushing a local option sales tax.

H&R shows that a hypothetical family of three with an annual income of $50,000 pays an estimated $6,346 in taxes annually.

That means Louisville residents carry a 12.7 percent tax burden, ahead of Boston, Massachusetts at 12.3 percent and just behind Chicago, Illinois at 12.8 percent.

Read more
Politics
8:30 am
Mon February 11, 2013

State Lawmaker: City Officials Shouldn't Use Taxpayer Dollars in Ethics Defense

State Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville
Credit keeplarryclark.com

State Representative Larry Clark, D-Louisville, has introduced a bill that would require city officials charged with an ethics violation to pay for their own attorneys.

Under the current system, Metro officials and employees can request a lawyer paid for by the city to defend them against an ethics charge. The new legislation would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used in those cases.

Clark says citizens should not be funding the defense of ethics charges against local officials accused of violating the public trust.

"First and foremost, I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers to have to pay for a lawyer for those of us in public service. I think we should be held at a higher standard," he says.

Read more
Politics
10:45 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Karl Rove Promises More Ashley Judd Attack Ads

Republican strategist Karl Rove is promising more attack ads targeting actress Ashley Judd.

Judd is flirting with a bid against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is up for re-election in 2014.

In a brutal online ad, American Crossroad tagged the actress-activist as an out-of-touch Hollywood liberal, and criticized her for living in Tennessee. Rove is the super PAC's founder, and he says there's plenty more to come.

Read more
Politics
10:30 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

Noise and Notes: Kentucky State President Mary Evans Sias on Historically Black Colleges' Challenges

Dr. Mary Evans Sias

Kentucky State University President Mary Evans Sias is warning the 127-year-old institution faces serious challenges, and will have to change to survive.

Located in the bosom of the commonwealth’s capital, K-State is a historically black college with a proud tradition that counts the late Urban League President Whitney Young among its alumni.

As of late K-State has seen a significant drop in enrollment as it has weathered state budget cuts and the national recession.

As Sias writes:

As we expected, in May of 2012, our graduation rate hit a low of 14 percent, down substantially from 2003. That enrollment decline resulted in a $4.8 million loss of revenue for the year.

Read more
Politics
4:00 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Judge Dismisses Shanklin Suit Against Mayor’s Office to Halt Ethics Case

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Government

A Jefferson Circuit judge dismissed a lawsuit against Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office filed by embattled Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, that sought to halt an ethics case against her.

The suit alleged Fischer violated Kentucky’s open records law because his office refused to provide documents explaining what authority the mayor had to close an upholstery program Shanklin sponsored.

Shanklin’s attorney Aubrey Williams asked for a temporary injunction in the ethics case until the records were produced. But Judge Audra Eckerle ruled the councilwoman would not be harmed if the ethics proceedings continued.

Read more
Politics
11:27 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Karl Rove's Super PAC Targets Ashley Judd in New Attack Ad

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

The Super PAC American Crossroads has released a stinging ad targeting actress-activist Ashley Judd, who is considering a bid against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The digital spot portrays Judd as an out-of-touch Hollywood liberal and criticizes her for being a supporter of President Obama, living in Tennessee and progressive politics.

Watch:

The ad is called "Ashley's Story" and cost the group $10,000.

Read more
Politics
6:56 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Democrats Halt Resolution Requesting Ethics Commission Be Given Subpoena Powers

After a 30-minute debate, the Louisville Metro Council’s government accountability committee put off a vote asking state lawmakers to give the city’s ethics commission subpoena power.

The non-binding measure had bipartisan support initially with leaders on both sides of the aisle saying it made common sense. But during discussion, Democrats raised concerns that state lawmakers could give the commission too much power and that the council should deliver a more specific proposal.

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the committee and filed the resolution. He says he was surprised by the decision to table to measure because no council members objected to the matter beforehand, adding Democrats have sent a troubling message.

"The non-partisan metro council of Lexington is supporting passage of a resolution, which urges passage of this. Our partisan council in Louisville seem to have issues and it’s troubling, but we are where we are," he says.

Read more
Politics
2:53 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Vacant Properties Committee Goes Mobile, Seeks Input in West Louisville

The Metro Council ad hoc Vacant Properties Committee is holding a special meeting in west Louisville to hear from community groups and neighborhood leaders.

Committee members are specifically looking to spotlight organizations with small budgets, and are urging groups to make 2 to 3 minute presentations.

Vacant Properties Vice-Chair Attica Scott, D-1, says she wants to introduce the community to city initiatives related to abandoned and vacant properties, and give non-profits a chance to showcase their own ideas to lawmakers.

Read more

Pages