The Chatter: Opposition to gay marriage, support for local-option sales tax grow, according to Bluegrass Poll – cn2

By Kevin Wheatley
Source: cn2

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider the state’s constitutional ban against same-sex marriage this summer, Kentuckians remain staunchly against allowing gay and lesbian wedlock, according to the results of the latest Bluegrass Poll released Thursday.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal, WHAS-TV, Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV, contacted 1,917 registered voters and found 57 percent oppose allowing same-sex couples to wed compared to 33 percent who back the issue. Ten percent were unsure, and the polls has a 2.3 percent margin of error.

Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky, told The Courier-Journal that the results show residents are “getting tired of the increasingly tolerant rhetoric of same-sex marriage supporters who want to portray them as bigoted” and “sticking to their guns on traditional marriage in the face of intense propaganda from Hollywood and the press.”

But Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said in the report that opposition growth may be tied to fears that the Supreme Court is prepared to strike down same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky and elsewhere.

“Opponents are grasping for ground as it is removed under them,” Hartman told the newspaper.

Respondents also showed broad support for local-option sales taxes, an initiative that has stalled in the Senate amid confusion and concerns with the proposed constitutional amendment’s enabling legislation.

The Bluegrass Poll found 63 percent of respondents supported the proposal, pushed this session as House Bill 1, while 23 percent stood in opposition and 14 percent were unsure. The survey has a 2.2 percent margin of error.

HB 1 would allow local governments to levy up to a 1 percent sales tax to finance specific projects upon voter approval.

Senate President Robert Stivers told the Herald-Leader he didn’t know whether the survey results would influence senators’ views on the issue in this year’s session’s final two days.

Stivers, R-Manchester, told reporters Wednesday that the bill’s enabling legislation, House Bill 344, has raised more questions than answers in the final days of this year’s 30-day session.

Once groups like industrial electric consumers sought relief from the tax, others like the Thoroughbred industry formed a growing chorus of carve-out requests, he said.

“So the support started waning for that, that was one reason,” Stivers said. “Two, some of the support I think out in the state started waning because the moneys that were promised to them were no longer going to be there. So you started to see this waning support of the idea plus there are individuals who were naturally opposed.”

The initiative, backed by Gov. Steve Beshear, industry groups and the mayors of Kentucky’s two largest cities, will likely resurface in 2016, when the constitutional amendment would be put to voters during the general election, if the legislature fails to approve HB 1.

The board of Local Investments for Transformation Kentucky, in a collective statement, sought to pressure the Senate into considering HB 1 this year.

“Despite yet another statewide poll demonstrating that a strong and growing majority of Kentuckians want more local control over the growth and development of their communities, the State Senate has refused to debate — even for one minute — House Bill 1, better known as Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT) Kentucky,” the LIFT board said.

“… The Kentucky State Senate has chosen to ignore voter voices, and opted instead to maintain the Frankfort status quo.”

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