Bill Samuels says lawmakers showed maturity by not politicizing local option sales tax; 2015 should be easier for LIFT – cn2

By: Nick Storm
Source: cn2
As lawmakers gear up for the 2015 session of the General Assembly, advocates are again calling for an amendment to the Kentucky constitution which would allow small increases to local sales tax which would fund special projects — if voters approve.

Bill Samuels, the Chairman Emeritus of Makers Mark bourbon and board member for LIFT or Local Investments for Transportation, says the initiative could make a big difference in communities around the state.

“Over the last few years we have tried to convince our political friends this is an option our Kentucky citizens need,” Samuels said.

“We’re getting beat up. We can’t compete for the kind of talent we really need to compete for.”

The local option sales tax constitutional amendment would give voters in cities the opportunity to approve up to one percent on the sales tax in order to pay for specific projects. When the projects are finished, that tax increase goes away.

Legislators heard the idea in the 2014 session, but an internal split in House Democratic leadership pushed the legislation to the back burner during the session.

This year, Samuels says lawmakers showed their “maturity” in the fall elections by not letting LIFT become politicized during the election cycle.

“It tells me that philosophically they all know this is good policy,” Samuels said. “Some are a little concerned because they’re afraid some opponent might throw it at them at a later date, but you know eventually it’s are they going to provide leadership to get this done.”

“This ought to be an easy thing. It probably will be easy. The first time you let people chew on it, and that’s what we did last year.”

Samuels, the former chairman of Greater Louisville Inc., said nothing is for certain in Frankfort, but he feels good about the progress that has been made.


What People Are Saying

  • “Putting the local-tax amendment on the November 2014 statewide ballot is a no-brainer. If local people want to levy local taxes on themselves, they should be able to.”

    Al Cross, Courier-Journal columnist
  • Jeff-Bringardner-headshot-only“This is a way to keep dollars in the area, to come up with a diverse slate of projects that sync up with the long-term plans of the community and get voted on by the people”

    Jeff Bringardner, President, Humana Kentucky
  • BillLamb“If Louisville could adopt a 1% Local Option Tax, it would impose a minimal burden, but would raise over 90 million dollars a year.”

    Bill Lamb, President and General Manager for WDRB and WNYO
  • Bill Samuels Bellarmine Portrait“Local option makes all the sense in the world. Offering citizens the opportunity to vote on investing in their community is how our country ought to operate.”

    Bill Samuels, Chairman, Emeritus Makers Mark
  • …a new way for communities to see the projects they want and need go from the drawing board to reality — and to do it for themselves.

    Jim Host, founder of Host Communications and former State Commerce Secretary
  • LIFT is a tried-and-true tool that allows for more voter involvement in the process.  Voters, not politicians, would help determine big picture, visionary projects that could improve quality of life.

    Dave Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • …an idea whose time has come, and could be a crucial economic development tool which will help our local communities build a better future, and the new jobs and businesses we need.

    Hal Goode, President and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Economic Development
  • In our opinion, Kentucky voters should be allowed to vote on the local option sales tax because it could fund public facilities without increasing property taxes.

    Morehead News
  • It will allow communities to plan and pay for improvements to enhance civic and economic life without going hat in hand each budget session to Frankfort.

    Lexington Herald-Leader
  • The beauty of it is that local voters have the say-so as to its enactment, and they have a sense that they are getting what they pay for.

    Princeton Times-Leader