GE rebukes letter; supports local option tax – WHAS

By Joe Arnold

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – One day after a letter surfaced from large utility customers expressing opposition to a local option sales tax in Kentucky, one of the companies on that list – General Electric – tells WHAS11 not only did it not authorize the letter, but actually supports the sales tax proposal.

Kim Freeman, a spokeswoman for General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville, said Wednesday that though GE is one of thirty businesses on the letterhead of Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers (KIUC) it disapproves of the Cincinnati-based coalition sending the letter to all Kentucky lawmakers.

Approved earlier this month by the Kentucky House, HB1 is a constitutional amendment that would allow local voters to temporarily raise their own sales taxes to pay for major projects.

The KIUC letter argues that a 1 percent sales tax increase would cost large utility customers an extra $24 million per year. Residential power bills are exempt from sales taxes, but industrial users pay sales tax on their power bills.

“We support it,” Freeman said of the local option tax.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Tuesday that any such companies could easily be exempted by voters who decide whether to approve specific projects.

HB1 faces an uncertain future in the Kentucky Senate.

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