Local option sales tax a key issue as Ky. lawmakers start 2015 legislative session – WDRB

By Kelly Davis
Source: WDRB

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — State lawmakers returned to Frankfort Tuesday for the start of the 2015 legislative session.

“Coming back to session is a little bit like going back to school,” said State Senator Morgan McGarvey, D-District 19. “You’re excited to see everybody and get started and excited to work for the year ahead.” 

It was a ceremonial start to the new year, as new members were sworn in to the Kentucky General Assembly. But it’s time to get down to business.

“I think we’ve got some big items on the agenda and I think we have the momentum to get some things accomplished,” said McGarvey,

Local option sales tax is a top priority, labeled House Bill One.

“What it does is it gives communities the ability to say, ‘this is how we’re going to raise revenue for a specific project, and after that project is voted on by the people,’ — and once it’s built the tax goes away,” McGarvey said.

“Think about all the different projects people want in the community: that’s where the local option comes to play,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “And it’s voter-driven, that’s the key thing.”

Mayor Fischer is part of a team pushing lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment that will allow people to vote on the issue.

“This is not just for metropolitan areas: this is for cities and counties all over Kentucky,” Mayor Fischer said. “They all have their projects as well.”

Other hot button issues include heroin, voting rights, and minimum wage. Lawmakers are anxious to hit the ground running.

“I’m excited about this session,” said McGarvey. “I actually think we have potential to get things done.”

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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