It’s Been a Long Time

101707-leo-coverimg_assist_view.jpgYou haven’t seen my byline in LEO in a long time, but this week I worked with editor Cary Stemle to produce a little 3,000-word cover story on the library tax referendum. All those words, and we still didn’t get into all the odd subplots of a complex story.

My opinion is that the referendum, calling for an occupational tax that will raise $40 million a year and create a separate library taxing district, will not pass when voters go to the polls Nov. 6. Take a look at the story – I think it’s a pretty balanced look at both sides of the issue.

No one disputes the need for some financial help for the library system, but a lot of voters are against taxes – of any type. There have been just enough missteps made by the library supporters, along with a media-friendly bulldog firing up the anti-tax forces in Chris Thieneman, that will probably doom the tax. If that happens, we may get to see if Councilman Hal Heiner’s plan to move the Library Improvement Plan forward has the support of the Metro Council.

I’m working on some other ideas for LEO, including the return of the “Media” column. If you’ve got some ideas that need exploring by “Louisville’s Media Critic” send them to

Rick Redding

2 thoughts on “It’s Been a Long Time

  1. Rick:
    I disagree that the library measure will fail. I predict that media coverage will contion to portray the library election as a close fight because that makes covering it more sensational and exciting. But I also predict that the measure will pass.

    This measure gives Louisville residents the opportunity to acquire something that is an incredible value — a library system that can play a huge role in meeting the needs of our community for education, from pre-school all the way through formal education to lifelong learning; for workforce development; for increasing societal understanding and tolerance; and for personal study and enrichment.

    What you refer to as missteps are actually unprincipled attempts by some opponents to put up a smokescreen to avoid a factual discussion of the issues, such as whether the city has the funding with current revenues to support the library this community needs. Four years of waiting since the library improvement plan was announced strongly indicates that current revenues are insufficient. The money is just not there.

    As one woman pointed out at the SW Forum on Monday evening, when things are important to us as families, we set aside funds in our household budgets so that “the things that are most important are not constantly deferred to the things that are most emergent.” For example, we put aside money for tithing, for retirement, or for our children’s education, and then pay the bills out of what’s left. In this manner, we ensure that our priorities are in order.

    When presented with the opportunity to guarantee that the library will have the resources to meet our community’s needs for the next 100 years, I believe Louisville will shout a resounding “yes.”

  2. This is clearly a cash grab by Abramson. By adding a special tax for the library, he has an extra $16 million in his budget, using it for his political ends.
    If this is not the case, I challenge him to propose a reduction in the city’s occupational tax proportionate to the amount the occupational tax is raised by the library tax.
    That would be putting the money where his mouth is.

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