Members of the Democratic Caucus offer statements on Mayor Greg Fisher’s Budget proposal

April 23, 2020

Louisville – The members of the Democratic Caucus of the Louisville Metro Council offer the following statement on Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed 2020-2021 FY Capital and Operating Budgets:

“The Metro Council is facing something we have never encountered before in the middle of a crisis we could not predict. We will work with the Mayor to move forward and I want the public to know, public safety is our top priority and getting things back to normal as soon as we can is a goal we must work toward as we try to handle this budget. We will get through this difficult time and we ask everyone to understand there is a great deal of uncertainty ahead but with determination and unity, we will work together to get through this unprecedented event. We must have federal assistance to address the services we need.” President David James District 6

“The budget outlook presented by the Mayor is deeply troubling although not unexpected. This issue has nothing to do with the pension or past decisions locally or at the state, this is exclusively caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. If residents are concerned about maintaining a basic level of local service - from police, to EMS, to parks and libraries - I would encourage them to contact our Senators and Congresspeople and encourage them to provide general fund assistance to state and local governments.” Councilman Markus Winkler President Pro Tem, Caucus Chair

“I have voted on many budgets during my time on the Council and I can say this one will be challenging. Many people are dealing with challenging times in their lives because of this virus. I hope everyone understands, we will work together to make sure our local government keeps running and keeps everyone safe.” Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin District 2

“Mayor Fischer’s commitment to equity and opportunity is admirable and needed as we look to “Build Back Better Together.” Our health equity data highlights a dire need within the African American, minority, and low-income communities. My office will continue to aggressively champion efforts to eradicate those inequities and work to empower all of our communities as we look to the future.” Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey District 3

“I support the concept of a continuation budget as we face external forces beyond our control and internal mandates that we must adhere to. Our nation will soon see more deaths related to COVOD-19 than we lost during the Vietnam War. I am not willing to put profits over people. Now is the time to stay the course, continue our budget and invite every sector to reimagine their role in society. What if we came out of this with a nation supporting a Living Wage for everyone. Government’s role is to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves. The harder the test, the greater the testimony. Together today - Stronger tomorrow!” Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith District 4

“The economic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus and declining revenue has thrown our already cash-strapped city budget into a more strenuous predicament, raising major concerns about the budget challenges that lie ahead.  Starting April 30, I will be working with the Budget Committee to review the Mayor's proposal, discuss the overwhelming burden of finding additional revenue, and begin looking at ways to avoid decimating the very services that we have grown accustomed and are entitled to as citizens. Essential services such as Police, Fire and EMS are in imminent danger of being drastically cut, and the thought of that possibility is frightening and unconscionable.  Financial assistance from the federal government is needed, and I would not advise, as someone has, that our city file bankruptcy to work our way out of our budget crisis. As has been said on numerous occasions during this pandemic season, we will get through this, and we will get through this together.” Councilwoman Paula McCraney District 7

“This is a tentative continuation budget at this point because of these uncertain times. Louisville may take longer to rebound than other cities because our convention and tourism business will be sidelined indefinitely at this juncture. So, we all need to work together in every capacity every day to overcome these current adversities with the goal towards achieving a better tomorrow.” Councilman Pat Mulvihill District 10

“My budget priorities are the same this year as last, despite the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves. Police, Fire, EMS and infrastructure first.  These simple priorities speak to the fundamental and basic role of government both in good times and bad.” Councilman Mark Fox District 13

“We are in unchartered territory and we have just got to roll until midsummer before we can really know where we are with revenue and possible federal relief.” Councilwoman Cindi Fowler District 14

“This budget acknowledges that we need city services now more than ever and underscores the necessity of federal relief. While there are many unknown variables amidst COVID what is certain is that together our community and government possess the ability to set priorities, address needs, and elicit faith in each other.” Councilwoman Nicole George District 21 

“Just as we have all had to make personal sacrifices during the COVID-19 outbreak, we as a city will have to make unprecedented sacrifices for the forcible future unless the Federal Government steps up and renders financial aid to cities to cover loss of income as a result of this pandemic.” Councilwoman Madonna Flood District 24

"The protection of public health is the manifest duty of a city. As our nation faces an unprecedented health crisis, we must face its challenges locally as we budget and plan for the uncertainty of the coming year. We have a duty to our forebears to manage this crisis as Americans have always done, with grit, patriotism and sacrifice. As we make the difficult budgetary decisions to sacrifice the needs from the wants, our paramount focus remains the health and security of our citizens. We have a difficult road ahead of us but together the people of our city will persevere. This body is vested with that responsibility." Councilman David Yates District 25