Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming

Politics
6:42 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Fischer Administration Official: 'Ban The Box' Would Complicate Metro Louisville's Hiring Process

Credit Shutterstock

Saying Louisville Metro has a policy not to ask about criminal records on job applications, Metro Human Resources Director Kellie Watson warned council members the so-called "ban the box" ordinance could complicate the city's hiring process.

But supporters believe the legislation is still needed in order to give convicted felons a fair chance when seeking employment.

The council's Labor and Economic Development Committee held its first hearing on the measure Thursday to gather more information about the proposal.

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Local News
7:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Ken Fleming: Local Option Sales Tax is an Option, but Louisville Must Address Taxes, Revenue

Janet Kelly and Ken Fleming
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming sees nuance with the potential adoption of a local option sales tax in Kentucky and in the city. But he doesn't see nuance if nothing is done.

“We’ll keep flipping around like a fish on a dock," Fleming said on Tuesday.

The East Louisville Republican was introducing on Tuesday a study he'd commissioned on the effects of a local option sales tax, which generally allows local governments to issue a sales tax to fund projects.  

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Politics
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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Politics
8:59 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Republicans Propose 'Sweeping Changes' to Discretionary Funds

Louisville Metro Council Republicans unveil discretionary spending changes.
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Calling past efforts to reform discretionary spending practices watered down, Louisville Metro Council Republicans unveiled a series of "sweeping changes" to neighborhood development funds.

The proposals come in the wake of Democratic Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's expulsion trial. Shanklin avoided removal over charges of alleged misconduct and unethical use of taxpayer money by just one vote.

Among the changes being touted by GOP members are for the majority of discretionary funds to be used on capital projects rather than towards non-profit groups.

Each council members receives $75,000 in Neighborhood Development Funds, $100,000 in Capital Infrastructure Funds and $30,000 for office expenses.

Republicans hold a nine-member minority on the council, but are seeking to cap the neighborhood accounts at $15,000 while allocating the rest for infrastructure needs.

Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, says past efforts to amend spending rules have been ineffective and too slow, adding that GOP lawmakers believe it’s important to act now in order to restore the public's trust.

"We decided after what happened over these past two weeks to go ahead and make this more permanent, more accountable and more transparent," he says. "We want to have the strongest confidence that the public has in us as well as making sure that we elevate and solidify the trust has in using taxpayer’s money."

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Politics
2:50 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Councilman Ken Fleming Says NBA Study Shows Louisville's 'Poor Business Climate'

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The chair of the Republican caucus in the Louisville Metro Council says a study on attracting an NBA franchise shows the city needs to improve its business climate and lift tax burdens.

A summary of the report, which was commissioned by Greater Louisville Inc., found Louisville has an enthusiastic fan base and downtown arena to attract a professional basketball franchise. What the city lacks is a proper corporate base to lease the necessary amount of suites at the KFC Yum Center.

At least one city lawmaker argues that illustrates a larger problem regarding burdensome government taxes, which he claims limit Louisville’s business growth that would attract the NBA and other amenities.

"We are a hamster on an exercise wheel: we work, we work, we work. We get off it, but yet we’re still stuck in the cage of state and government regulation," says Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7. "That’s why this whole state and particularly Louisville can’t do anything because we have politicians that can’t get their head out of the clouds and get down to the brass tacks  of doing things and changing this tax structure."

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Councilman Ken Fleming to Fund Local Option Sales Tax Study

Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, is sponsoring a $25,000 study on the economic impact of raising the state sales tax in the city.

Mayor Greg Fischer has been lobbying residents and state lawmakers to support a local option sales tax to raise revenue for special projects.

The plan would allow local voters to accept or reject raising the sales tax, which proponents say could generate around $90 million annually.

But Fleming says the city hasn’t examined its current tax structure and officials don’t know how an increase would burden residents.

"We really don’t have a benchmark or a good analysis on the taxes and how it affects individuals, and this study I’m anticipating will gives us a clear understanding of the tax implications. It can be used for future analysis or reviews of any type of taxes that might come up," he says.

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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
11:30 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Noise and Notes: Council Leaders David James and Ken Fleming on Taxes, City Budget and Guns

Louisville Democrat David James and Republican Ken Fleming don’t always agree as leaders of their respective caucuses, but the two Metro Council members hope city lawmakers tackle a number of issues this year.

Among them is the new spending plan for the city. Mayor Greg Fischer says the local economy is bouncing back from the recession, but Metro Government still faces a $13 million budget shortfall.

Both parties hope the budget process is transparent, and James and Fleming agree that public dollars for city services are running thin and need to be spent wisely.

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Politics
7:24 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Councilman Ken Fleming Questions Mayor Fischer's Local Option Sales Tax Proposal

Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, is concerned that Mayor Greg Fischer’s push for a local option sales tax will burden residents and wants to examine cutting other levies first.

For several months the mayor has been lobbying that the city needs the tool to be more competitive and independent.

Fischer argues his administration is not seeking a tax increase, and only wants voters to have the power to decide whether or not to fund special projects through a temporary hike to the state's sales tax.

But Fleming says the mayor has provided few details on what a specific proposal would look like, and is ignoring his campaign promises to spur economic development and job creation.

"Their goal should be economic development, and adding an additional tax on individuals regardless of income is not the right way to go," he says. "What we need to focus on is to try to find those strategies and tactics like getting rid of the occupational tax. That will help development incur job creation. I think we ought to look at that process and not a tax mentality."

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Politics
1:49 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Jim King Likely to be Louisville Metro Council President for Third Consecutive Year

Louisville Metro Councilman Jim King
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Jim King, D-10, is favored to serve an unprecedented third consecutive one-year term as council president.

Since city and county governments merged, council presidents have traditionally held the seat for a year before stepping down. King informed his Democratic colleagues—who hold a 17-to-9 majority—and Republicans of his intentions this month, and no other candidates have emerged.

"I think I have earned the trust and I want to keep the trust of both sides of the body—Republicans and Democrats. And I do try to work in a manner that is fair to both sides, and moving forward the legislative agenda of the council," King said.

"I think that the council members see me as someone who can lead them, but I can’t lead them without their support and I certainly value that."

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