Kentucky governor signs bill aimed at rejuvenating western Louisville

Published 7:24 am Saturday, April 10, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear signed legislation Friday creating a financing plan to stimulate economic growth in western Louisville, calling it a good start to overcoming “decades of neglect.”

Rural and urban lawmakers banded together to pass the measure aimed at rejuvenating economically distressed neighborhoods in Kentucky’s largest city. Beshear’s signature came as he decided the fate of more bills passed at the end of this year’s legislative session.

The Democratic governor signed another bill aimed at smoothing the transition for Kentuckians getting out of prison. People who have served their time “deserve a fair shot at re-entry into society, and it’s our job to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed,” he said.

Beshear vetoed a bill that would have offered tax breaks to lure data centers and so-called remote workers to Kentucky. The governor said he was concerned about some of the bill’s language and the “rushed nature” in passing it. Crafting such incentives needs more time and discussion, he said.

Republican House Speaker David Osborne called the veto “regrettable,” saying the incentives could have been a “major asset” for the state’s economic development efforts. With the session completed, the GOP-dominated legislature won’t have a chance to override the veto.

The Kentucky Senate’s top leader joined the governor in a bipartisan signing ceremony for the measure creating a tax increment financing district meant to uplift largely minority neighborhoods in western Louisville. Republican Senate President Robert Stivers, who represents an Appalachian district, put his political clout behind the legislation.

“It is really a very good day, a new beginning for the West End of Louisville,” Stivers said at the bill-signing ceremony at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.

To stress the bill’s statewide significance, Stivers recited Kentucky’s motto: “It’s a new day and a great day for the state of Kentucky as a whole. United we stand and divided we fall.”