Mayor Fischer urges support for LIFT in State of the City addres - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mayor Fischer urges support for local option sales tax in State of the City address

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Mayor Greg Fischer delivers his State of the City address at Churchill Downs, Jan. 16, calling citizens to support a local option sales tax referendum. Mayor Greg Fischer delivers his State of the City address at Churchill Downs, Jan. 16, calling citizens to support a local option sales tax referendum.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer urged citizens to lobby for a local option sales tax referendum in his annual State of the City address, Jan. 16.

Mayor Fischer spoke before a large number of local business leaders at the Downtown Rotary Club at Churchill Downs on Thursday, asking them to call their state representatives and let their voice be heard.

"Now some people say it's impossible -- you can't change Frankfort. And I said, 'Are we that pessimistic?' That's a mindset that they try to push you away," Fischer said. "I have always liked to rise to the challenge."

The constitutional amendment, called LIFT (Local Investments for Transformation), is "a way for us to experience a renaissance in our community and maximize the wonderful momentum we now have,"  Fischer said.

Despite what some believe to be an uphill battle, the mayor says getting the issue on the ballot this fall remains his number one legislative priority.

If  lawmakers approve, then the issue would go before statewide voters.

If voters approve, then cities across the state would be allowed to implement up to a one percent sales tax if local voters also approve.

"According to the polls, when you ask the people of Kentucky -- 'Are you for the local option, for you having the right to vote on specific projects?' -- more than 70 percent of Kentuckians support the concept of the local option and that includes business leaders, civic leaders and citizens of all political stripes," Fischer said.

Fischer says a one percent local sales tax would generate between $100 and 130 million a year for local projects.

Projects like the Louisville Loop, that the mayor says could be paid for right away, but without the local option tax, it could take 15 to 20 years to fund the project.

To illustrate the point, Fischer said a local-option sales tax could have funded Waterfront Park in a single year.

"I am cautiously optimistic that people on both sides -- people like Bill Samuels and the Kentucky Chamber, as well as the Democrats like Mayor Fischer -- all supporting the same thing, it's something everybody should be able to come together on," said Gill Holland, one Louisville's major developers in NuLu and Portland.

The mayor says while Frankfort is always full of political intrigue, he says he still believes there is a good chance of getting the proposal on the ballot

Those who wish to support LIFT must call 1-800-372-7181 to voice their opinion. Fischer urged Louisville residents and the entire Commonwealth to join his vision for the future by lobbying for the amendment.

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