GLI Boss calls for the need for local option tax - WDRB 41 Louisville News

GLI Boss calls for the need for local option tax

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- A new local option sales tax is needed to attract more businesses to the region -- that's the opinion of Louisville's top salesman for job attraction.  "Innovation and adaptability are critical for our growth and survival," Greater Louisville Inc, CEO Craig Richard told the Rotary Club of Louisville on Thursday.

GLI is the metro chamber of commerce.  Richard has been on the jobs just since the first of the year.

"I just can't believe how welcoming people have been here, they are just so friendly," Richard told WDRB News on Thursday.

But on another level, Richard has found that Louisville seems somewhat behind the times when it comes to having the capacity to compete for companies and jobs in the global marketplace.  "It's a lack of tools," he says, "that we can use for redevelopment, for creating the kind of quality place that we need in order to compete."

In a speech before the Rotary Club, Richard said he will work for a local sales tax option to help promote economic development.  "We need a change in the state constitution that would allow citizens the option to vote on a small increase in the local sales tax," he said.

Richard says the money raised would go toward specific community projects that cities need to attract a strong workforce.  "It's all about the workforce," he says, "if you don't have the quality of life and the types of amenities that attract people, you are not going to attract companies, it is as simple as that."

Richard came to Louisville from Houston where money raised from a local option tax was used to improve that city's transit system.  He says 88 of the nation's 100 top cities have used the local option sales tax to make improvements.

Richard's comments come just the day after Mayor Fischer also brought up the need for the local option sales tax during a public appearance.

Once the project is paid for, the tax is supposed to go away.  But some critics have said, once a tax, always a tax.

It's an issue likely to be discussed for quite awhile, especially after the first of 2014 when the Kentucky General Assembly goes back into regular session.

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