Paducah commissioners support local option sales tax- WPSD

By Briana Conner
By Justin Jones
Source: WPSD

PADUCAH, Ky. –Kentucky is one of 12 states and the only one in our viewing area that doesn’t allow a local option sales tax. Tuesday night, Paducah commissioners passed a resolution throwing their weight behind a bill that would change that.

House Bill 1 would allow communities in the state to raise the sales tax rate up to one percent. That money would be used to pay for a voter-approved infrastructure or quality of life projects. Once funding is complete, the tax hike goes away.

Paducah stands to gain an estimated $15.9 million a year from a one percent increase. It’s an option commissioners say our community can’t afford to keep doing without.

The conversation inside Etcetera Coffeehouse wasn’t about coffee beans or steamed milk Wednesday. It was about an idea Commissioner Allan Rhodes said is even hotter. He said, “I don’t see much downside.” He was talking about an option to raise the sales tax to pay for special projects. “It works to Paducah and McCracken County to our advantage more than most cities.”

Numbers from The Kentucky League of Cities and shoppers in the streets both prove Paducah is a retail hub, despite its population size. That means most of the money collected would come from out of town. “Does that make us uncompetitive? I don’t particularly worry about it in the coffee business,” said Rhodes.

One percent isn’t much when you’re just talking about a cup of coffee. It would add a couple of cents to the price tag, but a big ticket item like a chuck wagon utility vehicle would be about an extra $40. “They’re still gonna come here,” said Kelly Ray. She’s an assistant manager at Rural King where customers can find everything from ATV’s that will set you back thousands to much smaller merchandise that people can get for cheap.

She said shoppers shouldn’t mind paying to make Paducah a better place to live. “Being a small one percent… If it was going for something that would benefit the community, I think it would be okay,” said Ray. It’s a vote of confidence for an idea Rhodes said will give the community more choices.

HB1 still needs to be voted on in the Kentucky General Assembly. The resolution passed in Paducah only means local leaders support it.

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