Local Option Sales Tax Proponents Gear Up For 2015 – WUKY

By: Josh James
Source: WUKY

Supporters of a Local Sales Tax option for Kentucky communities are hopeful they might have better luck in the General Assembly in 2015.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was among the city leaders pressing lawmakers in Frankfort to put a Local Option Sales Tax on the ballot for Kentucky voters to approve. The initiative that would allow communities to vote on temporary local sales tax increases up to one percent to fund specific projects failed to gain traction during the 2014 session.

But board member with LIFT, or Local Option Investments for Transportation, Bill Samuels tells cn|2 Pure Politics the idea is gaining momentum with city and business leaders.

“This took awhile through the last session to really build this coalition and for everyone to get comfortable that this was real, that this actually works, and that we’re not plowing new ground as a Commonwealth,” he says.

Some lawmakers had appeared reticent to support any measure that could result in a tax increase in an election year, but Samuels says he’s optimistic about the progress that’s been made on the issue.

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