Local Option, Domestic Violence Protections, Felon Voting Rights Advance In House – WUKY

By Josh James
Source: WUKY

Kentucky voters in local communities would have the option to pay for specific projects with a temporary one percent sales tax increase under legislation passed by the House Thursday.

The local option sales tax, championed by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, requires that Kentucky voters approve a constitutional amendment. Advocates, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo, argued the bill put more control in the hands of citizens.

“As the pool of money becomes more and more difficult to spread out in small rural communities in Kentucky, more and more they’re going to have to look to fund water projects, community centers, things we’ve been able to… help them with,” the speaker told the chamber.

Rep. Jim Wayne countered that local option disproportionately affects low-income Kentuckians.

“I certainly commend those who are pushing this idea because they really want to help their communities, but this is not the right proposal. It’s a regressive tax on top of a very regressive tax system in our state,” the Louisville Democrat said.

The measure cleared the chamber 62 to 35 and now moves to the Senate.

In addition, House members debated and ultimately lent their unanimous support to House Bill 8, which makes civil protective orders available to dating couples and streamlines the process for other victims of domestic violence. Under the bill, victims could invoke a single interpersonal protector order that inform the offender that any further violation could lead to arrest.

While the measure has been unsuccessful in previous years, bipartisan support has grown up around the issue during this short 30-day session.

Another perennial piece of legislation once again passed by the chamber was House Bill 70, a constitutional amendment granting non-violent felons the right to vote. An estimated 186,000 Kentuckians could be impacted were the amendment to become law.

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