Local Option Sales Tax Gaining Momentum – WUKY

By JOSH JAMES
Source: WUKY

The Local Option Sales Tax had trouble gaining traction in Frankfort during the last legislative session, but backers see an opening this year as awareness of the issue takes hold.

Logo for Local Investments For TransformationLexington Mayor Jim Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer formed the core of the pro-local option contingent in 2014. Now, after a year’s worth of education efforts by advocates, supporters are feeling the wind at their backs.

With a hearing scheduled on the initiative this week, Fischer told WUKY the bipartisan chorus is growing.

“We think there are multiple pathways to victory as people have understood the bill more. They see the benefits of it,” he said Thursday. “There is not adequate money here in Frankfort to take care of all the needs of the state and then there’s also the issue of local cities and counties wanting to step up and vote on their own projects.”

For the uninitiated, local option would provide a mechanism for communities to vote for or against funding local projects with a temporary 1 percent sales tax increase.

Both House and Senate leadership have embraced the idea, but critics worry it could put a greater burden on low-income Kentuckians.

What People Are Saying

  • …embodies common-sense, good government principles that most conservatives and Republicans profess to support. It puts power at the local level closest to the people; is taxation with direct representation since the citizens have the right to vote on it; has high accountability by being tied to specific purposes; taxes consumption instead of savings or work; and sunsets instead of continuing indefinitely.

    John David Dyche, conservative columnist
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • …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
  • 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
  • …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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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