2010 economy grim for Ky. but Louisville banks on more optimistic view

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by Adrianna Hopkins

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 29, 2009 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 30 at 12:44 AM

Governor Beshear says the budget crisis for Kentucky is worse than initially thought. But Monday, Mayor Abramson said the city is banking on optimistic economic views that 2010 will be a turnaround year. So what about the agencies stuck in the middle?

"During a regular busy week here at Beechmont, we can easily have well over 100 people who come through the three different programs, the three different days," said Paul Holliger, President of the Table Tennis Club of Louisville.

It's not "ping pong," it's the Table Tennis Club of Louisville. Players compete here at the Beechmont Community Center, which is part of Metro Parks.

"These places, at least for us, are a low cost way of getting good exercise, having a good time and for those of us who are somewhat serious about this... improving our skill level," he said.

The budget balancing sword hasn't slashed this center from the books yet. But Metro Parks has already been cut deep over the past two years. They've closed swimming pools and community parks. And Director Mike Heitz says things were tight two years before that.

"Compared to six years ago today, including our seasonals, we have about, not quite, but half as many people as we've had before," said Director of Metro Parks Mike Heitz.

So what will the new fiscal year bring for the people who use these community centers, other Metro agencies and the State? It depends on who you ask.

"This we hope would be the bottom and things will start to turn around. But, I expect we'll have to go through another round of cuts this next fiscal year though," said Heitz.

"We're betting on the economists that are saying 2010 is going to be the turn around year. And we certainly hope that happens. As you know about 65-70% of city's revenue comes from people's occupational tax," said Abramson.

"So if people are working we're doing very well. And we're very hopeful that 2010 will be a year when businesses begin to re-energize and people will get rehired again. We have managed the city very well. That's not to say that it hasn't been difficult. We've had to change how we do business in many ways. But it's been difficult for the past two years."

But that's the city. The State appears to be a much different story.

Frankly speaking, the Governor says things are getting worse and he has to find a way to dig Kentucky out of a $1.5 billion budget hole.

"We're going to consider every option out there. The only option that is not on the table for me, right now, is any kind of broad based tax increase," said Governor Steve Beshear.

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