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The Courier-Journal has published a special report on jobs, noting that Louisville lost nearly 25 thousand jobs over the last decade, while many peer cities added jobs. The web coverage includes a graph that shows unemployment steadily rising in the area through the 1990s.

LEO previously reported on the decade of job loss and discussed the criticism surrounding Greater Louisville Inc.

The C-J asked Mayor-elect Greg Fischer about GLI’s value to the city. Here is the exchange:

Q: Should the city continue providing about 13 percent of Greater Louisville Inc.’s budget?

A: One of our transition teams is going to be taking a look at that. … We’ll be looking at all the issues that are associated with economic development. … I am committed to looking at it very objectively — asking ourselves, why do we have GLI? Why do we have the Downtown Development Corp.? Asking ourselves, where is there overlap in the city?

Q: Do you think GLI has done a good job attracting businesses to locate or expand in Louisville?

A: When you take a look at how we are competing against our 16 peer cities, we have to say, as a community, we have not done as well as we should have — as a community. That’s when we say, is it education, is it GLI — what is it?

 

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LEO has a story on the city’s chamber of commerce, Greater Louisville Inc. and the political and economic successes, pressures and failures it’s had in the last few years.

Particularly striking was the ending. The story addresses a systemic comfort with the way things work; a stagnation that has resulted in missed potential for several and increased comfort for some. It seems like this developed as Metro Government formed, and the potential remains untapped. (There’s also a potential for some state law changes.) Both remaining active candidates for mayor have proposed new ways of attracting jobs, and in recent interviews with WFPL, they both characterized their proposals (to some degree) as the way to realize that potential.

From LEO:

“I think we’ve just gotten complacent through the years,” Downard says. “And that goes across the board.” He says that the mayor’s use of economic development director Bruce Traughber to solicit jobs instead of the mayor is confusing. “When you’re the CEO of a major company, you’d expect to see (the mayor) all the time.”

Looking to Louisville’s future, former GLI chairman Jonathan Blue says that the next mayor must make job attraction “a priority, every day for the next four years, period,” and that the grim economic numbers don’t lie.

“Whoever wins on Tuesday, that person needs to be proactive and needs to find companies,” says Blue, CEO of Blue Equity. “We do not get companies relocating here by waiting for the phone to ring. So whoever wins, and it doesn’t matter to me, and they need to make sure that’s agenda item number one on a daily basis.”

 

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