Excellent point: “Louisville should not spend tens of millions for a soccer stadium unless it creates better jobs.”


Last evening the first step was taken toward a soccer stadium in Louisville.

The Fischer administration made a successful appeal to council members Tuesday saying the public-private partnership, which would erect a 10,000-seat facility, is a good use of taxpayer money that will put acres of underused land to good use.

After a nearly two-hour discussion in the council’s Budget Committee, members voted 4-1 to approve the bond.

Investors said they need to move swiftly on a new home field to stay in the professional United Soccer League. Since its inception three years ago, Louisville City FC has played at the Louisville Slugger Field baseball stadium.

Earlier there was an insightful commentary in which the authors refrained from opposing the pump-priming required to build a soccer stadium, but rather explored the implications of it, and suggested positive outcomes of the sort that Greg Fischer rarely acknowledges.

This is precisely the thinking needed whenever local officials propose tethering development to TIF zones. For instance, the jobs generated by New Albany’s aquatic center are seasonal and low-paying.

Shouldn’t the benefits be more expansive than that?

Louisville should not spend tens of millions for a soccer stadium unless it creates better jobs, by Richard Becker and Bryan Trafford (Insider Louisville)

Richard Becker is co-chair of Kentucky Jobs With Justice. Bryan Trafford is on the executive committee of Jobs With Justice, works at an area casino, and is a member of Teamsters Local 89.

To move forward, Louisville needs to create more jobs that pay enough to support a family. Right now, too many working families in our city feel like they are falling behind, no matter how hard they work. A low-wage floor holds down household spending power, which holds back our local economy.

As Louisville grows and puts taxpayer money into new development projects, our elected representatives should make choices that help paychecks get bigger and neighborhoods get stronger across the city.

Metro Louisville government has a chance to get this right with a major new project. The owners of Louisville City Football Club want as much as $60 million in state and local taxpayer money to help build a stadium, hotel, offices and retail stores on a parcel of land near Butchertown.

The owners of the team want Louisville taxpayers to get a $30 million loan to buy the land where they would own and operate the development. The owners apparently also plan to ask for approximately $30 million in additional taxpayer funding from the state through a “Tax Increment Funding” financing mechanism.

The development has been portrayed as a done deal, with the team saying it expects Metro Council to rush to a vote in two weeks.

But so far, there has been almost no public discussion about whether spending so much of our money on this project will help raise wages and improve the quality of jobs in our city. The members of Metro Council need to slow down, ask questions, and find ways to use this kind of major investment to create better jobs.