After seeing a promising decline in unemployment due to holiday hiring, the jobless rate for the 13-county Louisville Metro area went back to 9.9 percent in November, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That puts the city above the national average of 9.3 percent despite adding over 2,000 jobs in October, and leaves more than 62,000 people searching for a job in the metro area.
The recent unemployment numbers add to what’s an already bad economic news week for Louisville’s struggling job market. In Business First, a report showed that Louisville ranked among the worst cities to find a job in December.
For one city lawmaker, the decline of the local economy and struggling local business is something that needs to be addressed by both city and state government.
“The local businesses are the life blood of this community and the slow economy has hurt them severely,” says Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, who is introducing a resolution to ask state government to allow a business to pay lesser taxes once it returns to profitability. “Many business owners are being forced to shy away from investing in their companies and hiring people. This is necessary because Louisville businesses have been hamstrung with regulations. There’s too many barriers and hurdles, and Metro government needs to take a more active role to what’s been a penalty for those who want to grow their business by changing the way we collect taxes.”
The resolution will receive its first reading at tonight’s council meeting, and the change in state law would give business owners more flexibility to invest money in equipment and personnel. However, it would also reduce the amount of revenue that Metro government collects anywhere between $2 million to $4 million annually, according to the East End Republican’s own estimate.
In order to officially gauge the impact of the recommended change to the tax code the Louisville Metro Revenue Commission would need to study the resolution. For now, council Democrats and the Fischer administration have been hesitant in supporting the non-binding measure, however, Fleming says conversations with the mayor’s staff have been encouraging.
“There will be an impact to a certain degree on revenues, but you know what, I firmly believe that the revenues that we will get by giving companies the opportunity to reinvest and hire employees will more than compensate any forfeiture of funds that we might see in doing this,” he says. “I believe Mayor Fischer will embrace this because he’s already adopted a concept that Republicans have been pushing for years in the form of performance audits. It shows he is interested in figuring out the efficiencies of government.”