Louisville Metro Council

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A compromise plan that would have helped to cover a roughly $65 million shortfall failed in Louisville Metro Council Thursday night.

Amid some cries of "Shame!" and "Cancel Christmas!" the plan failed, 11-15.

The plan would have doubled the city's tax on some insurance premiums, while implementing some budget cuts in order to make up for the roughly $65 million budget shortfall the city is expected to face over the next four years.

The shortfall is brought on by the state's rising pension costs.

All of the Republicans on the council opposed the measure, and they were joined by some Democrats.

The vote means Louisville will likely need to make $35 million in cuts in this year alone.

A breakdown of Metro Council members, along with their votes, is below:

Jessica Green (D-1) No

Barbara Shanklin (D-2) Yes

Keisha Dorsey (D-3) No

Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) Yes

Donna L. Purvis (D-5) No

David James (D-6) Yes

Paula McCraney (D-7) No

Brandon Coan (D-8) Yes

Bill Hollander (D-9) Yes

Pat Mulvihill (D-10) Yes

Kevin Kramer (R-11) No

Rick Blackwell (D-12) Yes

Mark H. Fox (D-13) No

Cindi Fowler (D-14) No

Kevin Triplett (D-15) Yes

Scott Reed (R-16) No

Markus Winkler (D-17) Yes

Marilyn Parker (R-18) No

Anthony Piagentini (R-19) No

Stuart Benson (R-20) No

Nicole George (D-21) Yes

Robin Engel (R-22) No

James Peden (R-23) No

Madonna Flood (D-24) Yes

David Yates (D-25) No

Brent Ackerson (D-26) No

Earlier in the day, workers who worry they could lose their jobs took to the streets in a protest to make their voices heard.

Shortly after the vote, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued a statement expressing disappointment:

I am deeply disappointed and saddened for the people of Louisville by the Metro Council’s vote to cut $65 million in vital services from the city budget. The magnitude of this action by the Council will force cuts to services, including police, fire and EMS, along with cuts to programs that make a difference in the lives of people all over Louisville — libraries, community centers, Meals on Wheels, senior centers, paving projects, programs that work to keep our city healthy and clean, and many, many others. My thanks goes to the Council members who had the courage to vote against these cuts.

On April 25, I will present a FY20 budget with the first year of cuts totaling $35 million, reflecting the service cuts that the majority of the Council voted for.

Separately, the Council’s vote tonight to reverse their March 7 vote suspending the bond ordinance that would fund capital projects that they’d twice approved now must be reviewed in light of their subsequent vote to cut $65 million from Metro Government, to determine whether or not those projects can go forward.

Tracy Dotson, president of FOP Lodge 77, which represents corrections employees, issued his own statement, calling the vote "shameful" and "irresponsible."

"An elected position is not all ribbon cuttings and dedication ceremonies," he wrote. "Sometimes hard choices have to be made, choices that should put citizens and workers first, not your next election. Every NO vote in this picture is a YES vote for reduced public safety and workers losing their jobs."

"For the NO votes, we will see you at your next election," he added. "We will be in your neighborhoods, at your Town Halls, and on your campaign trails. We will put forth and support viable and responsible candidates in your districts that know the difference between the right thing to do and the easy thing to do. We will remember."

Several weeks ago, Fischer proposed increasing the tax on insurance premiums. Specifically, Fischer proposed tripling taxes on insurance premiums over that four-year time frame. He claimed the tax hike would save the jobs of hundreds of city workers, such as police officers and firefighters.

But many Metro Council members had other ideas. Last week, the council opted to pass a more moderate tax hike, put up by Councilman Markus Winkler.

That ordinance also includes cuts to the budget and passed a committee with a 7-4 vote.

Stay with WDRB News. We'll update this story as it develops.

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