Republicans on Metro Council oppose any tax hike to pay for addi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Republicans on Metro Council oppose any tax hike to pay for additional officers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A recently proposed increase in LG&E's franchise fee to help pay for additional police officers would ultimately hit customers in the wallet. The Metro Council will vote on the proposal tonight, but Republicans oppose the idea.

Mayor Greg Fischer's $750 million budget plan calls for more spending on public safety, including additional police officers and crime analysts, and under Fischer's proposal, those new positions would be funded in part through an increase in the franchise fee for some Louisville Gas & Electric customers. Fischer is proposing a new franchise agreement with the utility that would raise gas bills by 3 percent annually, generating $4.8 million for the city. The increase – an estimated $20 a year per customer – would apply only to residents and businesses within the old Urban Services District and unincorporated parts of Jefferson County, according to Steve Rowland, the city’s chief financial officer.

Members of the Metro Council have come up with another proposal that would reduce that proposed increase to 2 percent, but six Republicans on the council oppose any increase, saying Louisville residents are already taxed enough.

Republican Metro Council member Kevin Kramer says the city can increase police presence without increasing taxes. 

"That's a false argument," Kramer said. "To suggest that you can't have one without the other is just plain not true. The easiest way to get people to accept something that you're shoving down their throat is by saying 'we won't shove it down your throat if you do this.' Well, I'm saying to you we don't need to shove it down their throats at all."

Kramer says the council has received more email on the proposed increase than any other issue -- about 500 or so messages. Kramer says 98 percent of those messages are against any increase.

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