KY General Assembly to take on local-option sales tax in 2015 – WAVE

By Joey Brown
Source – WAVE


FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – A local-option sales tax will be the focus of House Bill 1 during the 2015 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly, it was announced on Friday.

The proposal is known as LIFT, which stands for Local Investments for Transformation.

Currently, 37 states allow their communities to vote on whether they would like to institute a temporary sales tax that is entirely dedicated to a specific project. They range from parks, arenas and convention centers to new infrastructure specifically designed to lure new businesses to Kentucky.

The temporary sales tax in Kentucky would amount to a penny or less in the LIFT proposal.

“This legislation is truly democracy at work, because it will be up to voters to decide whether to approve this constitutional amendment, and then communities will be able to decide whether they want to use this tool,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg. “Many other states have had great success with this approach, and I hope Kentucky can join them.”

Stumbo was joined by House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson, House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly in unveiling House Bill 1 in Frankfort.

“Local control and local decisions are the most fundamental aspects of government,” said Thompson. “That’s why I believe it’s time for the state to empower local governments to invest in their future. HB 1 will be the vehicle for people to have a voice in the shape and direction of their community.”

“Communities should be empowered in every way possible,” said Fischer. “Giving citizens more say in their future helps create vibrant places that will attract new talent, new jobs, and new opportunities. Public surveys have consistently shown there’s overwhelming support across the Commonwealth for local option — people want and deserve the right to vote.”

If the proposed constitutional amendment is approved by the General Assembly in 2015, voters will have the opportunity to vote on the measure during the November 2016 election, since amendments can only appear on the ballot in even-numbered years. Communities would then vote to decide whether to move forward with building the project they choose.


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