For Immediate Release: Friday, August 14, 2020
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – Taxpayers took one step closer to stopping a large property tax increase sought by the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) as thousands of citizens signed a petition built and promoted by the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s first and only free-market think tank in collaboration with No JCPS Tax Hike, a group of conservative activists committed to education reform and greater fiscal accountability.
The certification earlier this week of more than 38,000 signatures on the petition – nearly 3,000 more than legally required – clears the path for the fate of a 9.5% property tax-rate increase passed by the Jefferson County Board of Education to ultimately be placed on the November ballot and decided by voters.
“The JCPS board’s overreach cost it dearly since members sought a tax increase so big it qualified for recall by petition,” said Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters. “This immense hike is especially appalling considering the COVID-19 struggles facing Louisville taxpayers, many of whom have lost their jobs and closed their businesses with some now in danger of losing the very homes board members want to tax at a higher rate.”
Left unchallenged, property taxes in the school district would spike from 73.6 cents to 80.6 cents per each $100 of assessed property value.
JCPS is seeking this hefty tax hike despite already having a huge $1.8 billion budget now augmented by tens of millions more in federal stimulus dollars.
The district already receives $2,300 more per pupil than the statewide average plus it won’t reopen schools for in-person classes until at least Sept. 28.
“Given its already very sizeable revenues, JCPS hasn’t even begun to make the case for increasing taxpayers’ burdens in this current and extremely uncertain environment,” Waters said. “Placing the tax hike on the ballot will at least force the district to make its case to voters before additional strains are added to the serious COVID-19 stresses Louisvillians already face.”
Contact Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org or @bipps.