GLI Local Agenda
GLI’s Local Agenda represents the Greater Louisville business community’s top public policy priorities at the local level and complements GLI’s efforts at the state and federal levels. This document is updated frequently as the needs and priorities of the Greater Louisville business community evolve. The Local Agenda was last updated on October 8, 2020.
Public Safety and Criminal Justice
Crime and violence negatively affect economic development, talent attraction and retention, and quality of life. To that end, elected officials in Louisville must ensure safety and the protection of private property and public investments throughout our community. GLI supports strategic local investments in public safety and proven measures to reduce crime and violence. These steps should include initiatives to significantly decrease incarceration rates, facilitate the successful rehabilitation of convicted offenders, offer increased wrap-around services, fully eliminate implicit bias and racism in our criminal justice system, increase accountability and civilian oversight, and improve the relationship between law enforcement and our community.
Louisville Metro Government should strive to set an example for the country to follow for effective and equitable public safety and crime reduction strategies. This will allow our region to expand economic opportunities, develop a more competitive local workforce, and build a more equitable and just society.
- A greater emphasis should be placed on alternative sentencing and restorative justice – especially for juveniles and non-violent offenses such as vandalism and criminal mischief.
- Individuals who interact with the criminal justice system should have wide access to mental health services and substance use disorder treatment as well as training and education opportunities.
- Programs that emphasize substance use disorder treatment as an alternative to incarceration, such as the Living Room and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs, should be revitalized and strengthened.
- Louisville Metro Government’s collective bargaining agreement with local law enforcement should be reexamined to support a robust discussion of changes to local policing and increased accountability and civilian oversight.
- Implicit racial bias and de-escalation training should be increased for local law enforcement and criminal justice professionals.
Louisville Metro and other local governments in the region must generate the necessary revenues to provide key services and invest in our community’s future. But local tax structures must be conducive to business growth and allow Greater Louisville to aggressively compete for jobs and talent. This should include minimizing production-based taxes, easing compliance, and increasing uniformity across different local taxing jurisdictions.
- Local governments should work proactively and continuously to make compliance and payment as simple as possible for businesses and entrepreneurs. This should include the adoption of e-filing systems across all local taxing jurisdictions.
- GLI encourages increased uniformity and alignment among taxing jurisdictions wherever possible, including penalties for late payments, voluntary disclosure processes, and rules for calculating taxable income.
- For businesses based in our region that utilize remote workforces, rules for withholdings should be clear and accessible for business owners – especially in the era of COVID-19.
- Local governments in Kentucky should allow businesses to carry forward net operating losses indefinitely in determining net profits subject to local occupational licensing taxes.
- GLI supports robust and accessible processes for businesses to appeal local property tax assessments.
- Anti-competitive taxes such as Kentucky’s local occupational licensing tax or local insurance premium tax must be kept to a minimum, and rates should not be increased.
- GLI encourages local governments in Kentucky to continue working with the business community to advocate for state-level reforms to local government taxing authority.
Local Economic Development Incentives
Growing businesses and attracting high-wage jobs requires a complementary mixture of business-friendly tax structures, targeted support from government organizations, and unencumbered access to capital. For Greater Louisville to grow and prosper, partners at every level of government should prioritize business-friendly policies to remain globally competitive, including robust economic development incentives.
- GLI supports the use of local government tax incentives as economic development tools to encourage the region’s expansion and retention of businesses and high wage jobs.
- For projects that overlap with multiple jurisdictional boundaries or layers – including across state lines – local governments should collaborate in offering competitive incentive packages.
- Policymakers should continuously work to explore new incentives and innovative strategies to help businesses grow and succeed.
- Awarded and proposed incentive packages should always ensure confidentiality and protect the private information of businesses.
Land development and redevelopment help grow jobs, create more housing and urban density, revitalize and spur investment in underdeveloped areas, create new opportunities, and improve quality of life. Louisville must have in place policies that support and facilitate the important work of our professional land developers and redevelopers.
- Structural delays within the application review process should be reduce or eliminated wherever possible.
- Louisville Metro’s Planning Commission should be professionalized to support its important work and encourage service on the Commission.
- Unpredictability and uncertainty in land development and redevelopment – especially in rezoning cases – should be decreased by limiting the role of legislative bodies in reviewing applications and development plans.
- GLI encourages dedicating increased resources to support the important work of Louisville Metro Planning and Design staff and increasing staff capacity.
A predictable and flexible regulatory environment allows businesses to grow and thrive. Business regulations at the local level should adhere strictly to state or federal standards, be continuously reviewed for efficacy and impact, and come with clear and accessible guidelines.
- Businesses should be given increased flexibility as they adapt to new health and safety standards or pivot their business models in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Local governments and health agencies should play an active role in supporting and providing guidance to employers when complying with health & safety standards for employees and patrons.
- Local ordinances, regulations, and permitting processes should be viewed from the perspective of employers and should always consider stakeholder feedback to avoid unintended impacts—especially in terms of the cost of doing business.
- The intentional and systematic review of local ordinances, regulations and permitting processes is strongly recommended as the regional business community continues to evolve.
The work of local public health departments plays a key role in supporting health outcomes and improving the health of our workforce, especially throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
- As public health concerns continue due to COVID-19, GLI urges continued support for increasing the testing and contact tracing capacities of the Louisville Metro Department of Health & Wellness.
- As the Department of Health and Wellness works to enforce new health and safety regulations, it must also communicate clear, timely, and consistent guidelines to businesses to assist them with compliance and implementation.
- While GLI recognizes the need for local health departments to receive the resources necessary for protecting public health, regulatory fees imposed on businesses should be reasonable, and any increases should be considered in the context of economic conditions.
- GLI encourages Louisville Metro Government to allocate more resources to support the work of the Department of Health and Wellness to reduce nicotine and vaping usage and help address the substance use disorder crisis.
- Internet connectivity in underserved communities should be prioritized and supported to increase access to health care services and information.
GLI respects the important work carried out by the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) to implement the Federal Clean Air Act in Louisville Metro. The regulated community looks forward to continuing to work closely with APCD to improve air quality and ensure Louisville meets EPA standards. Environmental policy at the local level should embrace the following concepts to simultaneously support APCD’s core mission and foster economic growth.
- Businesses should be afforded regulatory flexibility and discretion in compliance matters during times of emergency, including COVID-19.
- APCD should develop a regulatory framework for the completion of voluntary environmental audits with clearly defined requirements and penalty amnesty consistent with U.S. EPA’s environmental audit policy to promote and enhance compliance with air district regulations.
- Attracting and retaining a robust staff of environmental professionals is important for assisting regulated entities with compliance issues and provide guidance.
- Clear, accessible, and timely guidance should be consistently provided for businesses to follow in complying with new regulations.
- APCD should continuously review local environmental regulations for efficacy, applicability, and opportunities for streamlining and simplification.
Businesses Owned by Underrepresented Groups
GLI recognizes that economic inclusion is critical to economic growth and has placed an emphasis on this in the chamber’s strategic plan. Local governments should prioritize strengthening the growth of businesses owned by underrepresented groups as part of their economic development strategies.
- Local governments should proactively establish partnerships with underrepresented business owners to increase access to public contracts, procurement opportunities, and other business opportunities with governments and corporate agencies.
- Strategies should be developed to increase access to government information and funding opportunities for business owners whose first language in not English.
- GLI supports efforts to develop targeted government funding opportunities to spur the growth and development of businesses owned by groups who have been historically underrepresented in the private sector.
- Business resources and mentorship programs to support start-ups and other enterprises owned by underrepresented groups should be developed and funded
- Lenders and investors that help provide economic opportunity and financial stability to underrepresented areas should be supported and incentivized.
Homelessness and Housing
GLI supports efforts to address homelessness through close collaboration between community organizations and government partners. GLI urges local officials to work with the state and federal governments to provide increased funding to support a comprehensive approach to ending homelessness.
- Employment and job training opportunities should be further developed and tailored to the unique needs of the homeless population.
- Louisville Metro should support and invest in clean and safe shelters paired with wrap-around support services.
- Land use policies and incentives should support density, the growth of our housing and rental stock, and the development of affordable housing in all areas of the community.
- Louisville’s homeless population should have wide access to social workers, mental health services, and substance abuse disorder treatment.
GLI strongly supports the continued maintenance and advancement of all forms of critical infrastructure in our region. Local government policies should ensure that sufficient access to funding is available to public and quasi-governmental agencies responsible for infrastructure development and maintenance and provide for a pro-growth regulatory environment.
- Local Roads: With limited resources available, Louisville and other local governments must continue to strategically invest in road maintenance and development projects through data analysis, public input, and cost-benefit analyses. GLI supports efforts to continuously review road plans and designs of major thoroughfares in the region with the goal of optimizing existing roads and improving mobility. In addition, local officials should work closely with GLI to advocate for road-aid modernization and increased funding for local roads.
- Technology Infrastructure: GLI encourages a flexible regulatory environment that supports the development of infrastructure for advanced communications technologies. Reliable, available, and robust internet and cellular technologies are important to growing our economy, attracting top talent, and fixing the digital divide. Increased connectivity is also key to health care access and education. Regulations must support, and not impede, the development of these critical infrastructure assets by technology and communications providers.
- River: Louisville’s riverfront areas and communities need more provisions to build and sustain flood protections, which should include increased support for the important work of the Metropolitan Sewer District and funding for updates to our aging flood protection system. Louisville must also work proactively to ensure we are fulling leveraging our ports through investment and planning in support of our manufacturing logistics sectors.
- Water, Wastewater, & Stormwater/Inland Drainage: Local water, wastewater, and stormwater/drainage agencies need to have adequate access to funding and capital to maintain and upgrade outdated infrastructure. Continued replacement and maintenance of these systems throughout our city is critical to maintaining service to residents and to business continuity. Sampling for COVID-19 markers in wastewater is a key component of Louisville Metro’s testing plan and should continue to be supported to facilitate recovery.
To facilitate the movement of consumers, workers, business owners, and tourists, GLI supports local initiatives to diversify and enhance regional mobility options.
- Adequate resources and sustainable funds must be dedicated to the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) to create a fast, frequent, and reliable transit network. This is a key factor in the growth of our region’s workforce and strong economic development.
- The region should continue strong support for Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and dedicate advocacy efforts for more direct flights to and from Louisville.
- Louisville Metro should improve pedestrian and biking infrastructure to support talent attraction and retention efforts and provide for safer connectivity within and between workforce centers.
- Connectivity between East and West Louisville, major tourist hubs and the airport, and Louisville and Southern Indiana should be continuously evaluated and improved based on demographic and economic trends and forecasts.
Tourism in Louisville—driven by bourbon, museums, festivals, the culinary scene, conventions and conferences, horse racing, athletic events, and the arts—is a multibillion-dollar industry, responsible for creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in state and local revenues every year. Local governments must remain committed to supporting and protecting our vital tourism industry, especially through the economic recovery from COVID-19.
- Louisville should promote policies to help cultivate perceptions of the area as a welcoming place and partner with GLI to oppose legislation that could create misperceptions of the region as unwelcoming.
- Local governments must collaborate closely in support of major tourism attraction events, including the Kentucky Derby, bourbon, craft beer, and food events, and Louisville’s emerging music festival scene. The businesses that drive events like these will need the full support and cooperation of local governments in the aftermath of COVID-19.
- GLI generally discourages increases to local fees and additional government surcharges on ticketed events in Louisville because of the potentially negative impacts on tourism and major attractions.
Talent Attraction & Retention
Talent attraction and retention are vital to Louisville’s future. Local governments must prioritize talent attraction and retention through bold and innovative efforts and continue to foster diversity and inclusion within our community.
- Increased resources should be dedicated to supporting key attraction efforts through the development of civic assets, including but not limited to, open communal space, parks, and cultural and sporting events.
- Louisville Metro should continue to strengthen its support GLI’s Live in Lou initiative.
- Louisville should explore and consider efforts by other cities to utilize tax-based incentives to attract and retain talent.
- Efforts to develop our high-skill workforce and foster a competitive tech sector in Louisville should continue to be prioritized.
- The work of the Louisville Metro Office of Globalization and regional refugee resettlement agencies should be amplified and continue to receive support.
- The city should continue partnerships with primary and secondary education institutions to ensure their efforts around talent retention are aligned and complimentary.
- More work must be done to transition veterans into our regional workforce as they leave our regional partner at Fort Knox.
To compete with peer cities for jobs and support the growth of businesses, Louisville must be home to a competitive workforce. While the state and federal governments drive many workforce programs, local governments play a key role in supporting workforce development and training and retraining initiatives through innovative programming and targeted investment.
- Louisville Metro Government must continue investing in the vital work of KentuckianaWorks to develop, train, and retrain our regional workforce.
- Local workforce development programs should receive continued support, including innovative programs that programs that provide wrap around services for job seekers and students who face barriers to employment and education.
- GLI encourages Louisville Metro Government and Jefferson County Public Schools to continue their support and collaboration with Evole502 to remove persistent barriers to higher education for individuals in our community.
- The highly-successful JCPS Academies of Louisville must be continually supported and championed by local governments through increased partnerships, resources, and funding where necessary.
Greater Louisville’s economic prosperity is dependent on regional collaboration across local governments, community organizations, and the private sector. Close coordination and uniform branding throughout the region and within Jefferson County are key to growth and business attraction.
- Local governments should not only coordinate economic development efforts with the private sector and community partners but with other local governments within our region as well. This should include cooperation across county lines and within county lines, especially in Jefferson County, which is home to more than 80 independent cities and Louisville Metro Government.
- GLI encourages local governments in our region to proactively collaborate with and support the Greater Louisville Regional Economic Development Partnership.
- Local government resources should be dedicated to amplifying regional branding efforts to help Greater Louisville speak with one voice to prospective employers and talent.
- GLI supports the continued economic development of Southern Indiana through the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the formation of the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority. This multi-county partnership will allow the Greater Louisville region to leverage competitive state grant funding for economic development and quality-of-place projects.
GLI supports the transformative work happening in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and is encouraged to see positive trends in growth areas such as student graduation and transition readiness. Two key areas of public education that our region must continue focusing on are accelerating student achievement and increasing school choice.
Student achievement is crucial to the future success of our local economy, developing our workforce, and expanding economic opportunity. GLI supports the following measures and initiatives to improve student achievement:
- The JCPS Racial Educational Equity Plan 2018-2020 that directly addresses student achievement gaps
- The Academies of Louisville, SummerWorks, and other programs aimed at student engagement in the regional workforce
- Innovation around talent attraction to JCPS to establish a representative staff that mirrors the student population and encourages additional incentives and compensation to teachers working in schools which require additional support
- Differentiated compensation, incentives, and ancillary benefits for teachers and administrators based on responsibilities, qualifications, effectiveness, and service location
- Increased local investment to support facility construction and maintenance, resources for the district’s highest-need schools, support for racial equity initiatives, and allowing for additional student instruction time.
School choice – giving parents, guardians, and students more choice in selecting educational pathways – is key to a successful public education system. The growing number of options for students is valuable to current and future residents. GLI supports the following measures and initiatives to increase school choice:
- Student assignment strategies that strive to balance the dual goals of providing family choice among school options with diversity in school enrollment
- The enactment of policies to empower parents to have all choices available to them in terms of education which includes but is not limited to, traditional, magnet, reside schools and charter schools
- The implementation of equitable policies for magnet school exits that work with students and families to assess student achievement and performance prior to exit
- The incorporation of charter schools following the resolution of funding on a state level, specifically targeting charter schools that support underserved student populations