January 18, 2019 4:36pm
Key GLI Priorities mentioned in Mayor Fischer’s State of the City Address
Mayor Greg Fischer delivered his 2019 State of the City Address at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville. Fischer won election to a third term in November 2018. His speech touched on a wide range of different issues and themes, including the economic progress the city has seen in the past several years, the need for continuing honest conversations about the history of race and discrimination in Louisville, and some of what we can expect to see in Fischer’s third term as mayor. Fischer also touched on several initiatives and policy priorities that GLI has been actively working to advance.
- Tourism: As Mayor Fischer mentioned, tourism has become an integral part of Louisville’s economy, generating billions of dollars in economic activity every year. That’s why GLI has worked diligently in Frankfort to oppose any legislative measures that could harm Louisville’s tourism industry by creating a perception of our region as unwelcoming. Ensuring that potential visitors know Louisville is open to all who might want to visit is a key GLI priority.
- Bourbonism: A major reason for Louisville’s tourism boom in recent years has been the rise of Bourbonism, which Mayor Fischer identified as one of our region’s many cultural assets that can be leveraged into vital economic pillars for our community. GLI has been proud to play an active role in promoting Bourbonism through supporting legislation aimed at growing the industry. Just last year GLI worked to secure passage of House Bill 400, which allowed for direct-customer shipment of Bourbon. This is one of many measures that have led national media outlets like The New York Times to notice the “Napa-fication of Kentucky, “ a reference to the similarities between Bourbonism in Kentucky and wine tourism in Napa Valley.
- Talent Attraction: Attracting more young people – especially those with training in high demand business sectors – and developing our workforce to meet the demands of a changing economy is key to Louisville’s future. Mayor Fischer highlighted this important issue at a few junctures in his speech. He spoke of plans to elevate Louisville’s global image and announced an ambitious goal of increasing by five times the number of people receiving technology and workforce training in the next four years. Talent attraction and workforce development are, of course, major GLI priorities. Our LiveInLou campaign, for instance, is a digital marketing campaign aimed at attracting young people to the region, and we have actively worked on talent-attraction legislation, such as tax credit programs for high-skill workers and the Nurse Licensure Compact.
- Local Revenue: Kentucky’s pension crisis is having an impact on cities that too often goes overlooked. Mayor Fischer stated that within five years the city’s annual pension obligation will be $50 million higher than it is today. To help cities cope with these rising costs, local governments need increased revenue options and flexibility. Allowing local governments to generate the revenue they need is a core element of GLI’s 2019 State Legislative Agenda and is an issue that GLI has championed in the past.
These are just a sampling of the shared priorities between GLI and the Mayor’s Office that Fischer mentioned in his address. He also discussed important initiatives and issues such as the Academies of JCPS, early childhood education, higher education, and the importance of adapting to a changing world through innovation and globalization. As Mayor Fischer embarks on his third term in office, GLI looks forward to continuing its history of collaborating with Metro Government to continue moving our economy forward. Read more about Mayor Fischer’s 2019 State of the City Address here.