Greg Fischer went to SXSW, where people don’t know what an anti-transparency good old boy he’s been:
Austin’s tech and startup industries are fueling that city’s growth. Here, Fischer says, he wants to keep pushing the elements he believes foster a better environment for new businesses.
“We need to double down on entrepreneurship, we need to double down on transportation, we need to dive down on our cultural scene that we’re developing on bourbonism and the arts,” Fischer says.
Along with Austin’s booms have come rapidly-increasing rents, areas of the city that longtime residents can no longer afford and all the other fun things that come with wealth-based gentrification.
While Louisville definitely needs to take entrepreneurship seriously and needs real public transportation (TARC? Please. Embarrassing for the region.)… let’s get real for a bit.
This doubling down on bourbon and the arts is cool and all. In part because bourbon is more stable than coal. But it’d probably be a good idea for the city to focus on solving its problems before jacking up rents and housing costs. Maybe it’d be a good idea to make sure we aren’t killing 10,000 pedestrians per day before focusing on expanded transit. (The last time we tried that, we ended up with two bridges we don’t really need and can’t afford.) Maybe we could start with building sidewalks in every neighborhood and on main drags like Frankfort Avenue? That’d be a cool thing to do. Maybe we could start caring for pregnant women and young children instead of closing half of our WIC clinics while sending our mayor on fancy trips to music festivals.
And this whole LIFT sales tax increase that folks have pushed through with no regard for reality — just because it feels good? Maybe we could make sure our working poor aren’t hit with the brunt of something like that before we go crazy. Maybe we could stop fighting minimum wage increases, as Fischer has done, before we raise sales taxes for projects few will benefit from. Sales tax may not matter to you if you’re annually clearing $80,000 but if you’re squeaking by on $20,000, you’re gonna leave the area to make purchases or avoid attending events. It becomes increasingly more difficult for one to have upward mobility the Fischer crew claims actually exists.
Do we really want to find out what happens when our creative class can’t afford to live in our city? Wait — I mean the creative class we already have. Because we all know creative-types and entrepreneurs aren’t clamoring to come to Kentucky in light of the latest racist, homophobic, anti-woman efforts that have been put into place by Frankfort. They’re going elsewhere.