Lexington Lawmaker Says Rupp Poll Results Not Unexpected

May 19, 2014

Credit kentucky.com

A state lawmaker from Lexington isn't surprised by poll results questioning the use of state funds to help reinvent Rupp Arena and build a new convention center.  The survey showed only 18 percent of those questioned approved of spending state money on the 351 million dollar project. 

Lexington Representative Jesse Crenshaw says it can be hard to sell long-term benefits.  "People look at things and look at it from the standpoint of we have a number of needs that are pressing now, so we should spend anything for the future," said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw says some of the same concerns were voiced when tax incentives were offered to Toyota.  The retiring lawmaker says the Georgetown Toyota plant has amounted to a "gold mine."   According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Rupp Project Manager Frank Butler says the questions posed for the survey was poorly-worded and only asked about one part of the financing plan.

The survey, conducted last week, was sponsored by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Courier Journal, TV stations WKYT and WHAS.  It indicated only 18 percent of those questioned approved of spending state money for the Rupp-Convention Center project. 

Crenshaw says the entire Commonwealth must be considered in future budget considerations.  "It's more than just investing in Lexington.  It's investing in funds that go into the general fund, revenues that go into the general fund that then when it comes time for budgeting for future budgets, it helps the whole state and not just Fayette County and this area alone," added Crenshaw.

The retiring legislator says it hard to predict what impact the poll results might have on lawmakers considering state support for Rupp.  The first attempt this past session fell short of winning passage.  Crenshaw admits the poll results could sway some lawmakers who might have otherwise voted in favor of a state appropriation.