Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

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.

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Politics
11:44 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Metro Leaders to Draft Legislation for Local Option Sales Tax

Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

FRANKFORT — Though the effort for a local option sales tax lacks support from principals in the General Assembly, Mayor Greg Fischer and other leaders from Kentucky's largest communities still went to Frankfort on Tuesday to push for a constitutional amendment.

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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.

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Politics
6:00 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Stumbo, Stivers Oppose Local Option Sales Tax; Fischer Undeterred

Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Kentucky's top two legislative leaders are throwing cold water on a proposal to create a local option sales tax for city and county governments.

The plan would give local voters the ability to decide whether to fund special projects through a temporary increase to the state sales tax. It would typically be used for infrastructure, supporters say, but could also be applied to long-term investments.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, however, says cities already have alternatives for such projects.

"There's a lot of options that they have, that they haven't used for local option taxes if they want to utilize them. So I don't necessarily favor it," he says.

The measure is heavily supported by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, both Democrats. 

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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.

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Politics
5:29 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin Sues Mayor Greg Fischer Over Upholstery Program Records

Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has filed suit against Mayor Greg Fischer's office.

Shanklin, D-2, is seeking public records regarding an upholstery program for ex-offenders that her office funded, which is part of a recent ethics investigation against her.

In September 2012, Shanklin requested records related to Fischer's "involvement in the investigation," and what authority the mayor's office had to close the program.

The councilwoman alleges the mayor is violating the state's open records law and depriving her of evidence needed for her defense in the ethics case.

"Basically we asked for what authority or rule or policy the mayor relied on to terminate the upholstery program," says attorney Aubrey Williams, who is representing Shanklin.

Williams is requesting the ethics commission delay its ruling until this matter is settled.

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Environment
11:26 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer to Release Draft Sustainability Plan Today, 140 Characters at a Time

Credit Twitter.com

Updated: Mayor Greg Fischer says he'll release a draft version of the city's sustainability plan this afternoon. But before the whole report is sent out, he'll be teasing the plan's highlights on his Twitter account. Citizens will have the month of February to read the plan and provide comments.

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Politics
11:16 am
Wed January 30, 2013

City Reminds Residents to Sign-up for Code Red Emergency Alert System

Mayor Greg Fischer says the severe weather that struck Louisville this week should serve as a reminder for citizens to sign up for the city's emergency alert system.

The Code Red alerts use text messages, e-mails and phone calls to warn residents about potentially life-threatening events, including severe weather.

Code Red was established two years ago in the aftermath of a chemical explosion in the Rubbertown neighborhood. Over 239,000 individuals are already registered, but the mayor hopes more citizens will sign up.

"The Code Red system is easy to use and gets information to people quickly so they can protect themselves and their families," Fischer said in a news release. "During last night’s storms, if you were asleep or weren’t listening to television or radio, you would have received a phone call or text message from Code Red with the latest warnings."

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Politics
2:07 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

City Purchases Land to Attract Jobs, Development in West Louisville

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday that Metro Government has purchased a 30-acre piece of land in west Louisville that it plans to market to companies wishing to expand or relocate to the city.

The property is the former headquarters of National Tobacco located at 30th and Muhammad Ali Blvd. It will cost the city $1.2 million to buy from state government, with $750,000 coming from a settlement with the state over an unrelated right-of-way dispute.

The other $500,000 was allocated by the mayor last year in the city budget to buy brown space in the West End.

"This property is ideal and ready for development," Fischer said in a news release. "The site is clear with no significant environmental issues. It’s on a rail line, abuts the interstate and is surrounded by a ready workforce."

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Local News
7:00 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Fischer Backs President Obama's Gun Control Measures, but State Law Hampers City Efforts

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says President Obama's proposal for gun control laws are rational and that he'd like to see new legislation passed.

But those comments are in stark contrast to a state law that is forcing changes to the city's definition of deadly weapons and now allow firearms to be carried in city-owned buildings.

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