News briefs from around Kentucky – WRAL

Source: WRAL

Several Kentucky House leaders started a bipartisan push Friday for a proposal that would give communities the option to temporarily impose higher taxes on themselves to pay for big construction projects.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo designated the proposal as a top priority for the 2015 General Assembly session opening in January. House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover said he will sign on as a co-sponsor.

“I have always thought this was government at its best,” Hoover, a Jamestown Republican, said of the local-option sales tax proposal. “It’s government at the most local level.”

The proposal fizzled in this year’s legislative session. It would allow local governments to impose up to an extra 1 percent sales tax to raise money for projects such as arenas, convention centers and parks.

First, local voters would have to approve the tax. It could only be used for specific projects and the tax would expire once the project is complete.

To give communities that option, Kentucky voters would have to approve an amendment to the state Constitution. If the proposal clears the legislature, it would go on the 2016 ballot.

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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