Editorial: Local option sales tax could fund facilities – Journal-Times

Source: Journal-Times


To no one’s surprise, the Kentucky Retail Federation came out Friday in opposition to any effort to try again to let state voters decide if they want a one percent local option sales tax to fund physical facilities.

A total of 37 states already allow cities and/or county voters to add to the state sales tax and use the money to pay off locally-issued bonds for various types of facilities.

In Carter County, adding one percent would generate an estimated $923,107 to be used each year to retire bonds.

Once a project’s revenue bonds are retired, the tax goes away.

The issue came back to life with the revelation by House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Minority Leader Jeff Hoover that passing the local option sales tax bill will be the top priority of House leadership in the upcoming 2015 session of the General Assembly.

A bill was introduced in 2014 for the local sales tax option but it made little progress in the face of stiff opposition from Republicans.

A bi-partisan group calling itself LIFT (Local Investments For Transformation) claims on its website that a statewide poll shows 72 percent of Kentuckians favor the right to decide if their local government could use the extra sales tax to finance local capital projects.

Only 19 percent said they were opposed with the remaining nine percent undecided. The website iswww.liftkentucky.com

The local option sales tax is endorsed by dozens of current and former governors, mayors, county judge-executives and statewide corporations and organizations.

 

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