Councilwoman says mayor using ‘scare tactics’ to promote Louisville tax hike

Council members react to social media posts about potential Metro budget cuts

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Across social media, videos and photos are popping up showing different departments and places that would be impacted by the potential budget cuts.

Metro Louisville is facing a $65 million budget shortfall. Mayor Greg Fischer said the budget cuts to come up with the money would be devastating. He’s proposing to increase taxes Louisville residents pay on most types of insurance.

This week, Metro Public Works posted videos on Twitter showing how budget cuts would impact Louisville’s recycling service and filling potholes.

Fischer tweeted several videos this week talking about the budget crisis and potential impacts, each video taken in different locations: at a library, at a vacant lot and with EMS.

“The Kentucky retirement system is mandating us to pay $50 million over these next four budget years,” Fischer said in one of the videos.

District 18 Councilwoman Marilyn Parker said there is a concern among some council members that government agencies and non-profit organizations are being used to advertise a tax increase.

“I would describe it as a desperate way of advocating for a tax increase -- and yes it’s scare tactics,” Parker said.

She said she’s been watching this pension problem creep up for years. Parker said she’s been talking to residents who are concerned about the tax increase.

“I’m hearing from people -- they’re not buying that they’re not going to have their potholes filled and they’re not buying that we’re going to have to cut public safety,” Parker said.

District 4 Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said the people she’s talked to are pretty much split down the middle: some support the tax increase, while others don’t.

“Then we have a number of folks who are saying no tax increase and no cuts in services,” Sexton Smith said. “That is simply not physically possible in my opinion at this time.”

Sexton Smith said she doesn’t believe the videos circulating on social media are being used as “scare tactics.”

“I do not feel frightened or threatened or afraid of any of the videos being passed around,” Sexton Smith said. “The reality is it is frightening. It’s very frightening when you think about men and women no longer being employed in the different departments.”

Sexton Smith and Parker agree before any final decisions on the budget are made, the public’s input is vital.

There will be a Special Budget Committee meeting on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

There are two public meetings for residents to ask questions and talk to the budget committee:

  • Thursday, February 28 – Regular Budget Committee meeting at 4:30 p.m. Public Hearing beginning at 6:00 p.m., at the conclusion of the regular committee meeting.
  • Monday, March 4 – Public Hearing beginning at 6:00 p.m.

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