Kentucky House Committee Approves Proposed Local Option Sales Tax – Tristate

Source: Tristate Homepage

A Kentucky House committee approves a bill aimed to fund community projects, by raising the local sales taxes.

It’s called the local option sales tax. The measure allows voters to decide on a temporary, 1% sales tax hike that raises money to pay for projects. Nearly forty states already have this in place.

Construction can be a dirty job.  So can raising taxes.

“Anytime I see our taxes rising, I realize where that money’s coming from, out of my pocket,” says Jim Foreman of Owensboro.

“Nobody wants to say they would increase a tax,” adds Kirk Kirkpatrick of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce.

Lawmakers are considering allowing cities like Owensboro to use a local option sales tax, a one percent sales tax increase, to pay for development.  Officials could use it for one project, figure out the cost, and let voters decide whether to raise sales taxes to pay for it.  The tax would then go away once it’s paid for.

“That one percent additional sales tax would stay in that community, unlike most of the money we get now, goes to the state, and some of that comes back, all of that would be levied and aimed at that one specific project,” Kirkpatrick says. He adds the option could’ve helped build other recently completed downtown projects

“If there was this opportunity several years ago, the community of Owensboro would’ve voted to increase the sales tax by one percent to pay for the convention center. With that 1% sales tax, that entire center could’ve been paid for in two to three years,” says Kirkpatrick.

According to local option supporters LIFT Kentucky, a potential 1%  option could raise more than $13 million dollars for Daviess County.

“I think it could be used for good purposes. I think there’s a need for it at times,” says Foreman.

If lawmakers approve it this session, the local option sales tax would be put on a statewide ballot.

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