Russellville government supports LIFT bill – News Democrat Leader

The Russellville City Council and mayor Mark Stratton showed their support for HB 1 recently with the passing of a resolution supporting the Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT) legislation. Although it’s undecided at this time, the city feels it is important to allow its citizens a chance to have their voice heard on special projects that could help their community.

On Feb. 12, HB1 passed the House 62-35.

LIFT proposes an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that would allow citizens to vote on a one-penny additional local sales tax dedicated to the funding of transformation local projects, which would be removed once the projects are paid for.

“These would be projects voted on by the the people themselves, instead of the government telling them what is going to be done,” said mayor Stratton. The good thing about this initiative is people have a say and after a project is complete, then the tax goes away.”

If the Bill passes, the new revenue generated would be dedicated to funding a specific set of projects chosen by a community-wide, citizen-driven process. It would not go into a city’s or county’s general fund. And it ends when the projects are paid off and any future local option sales taxes would not overlap and would require a new referendum vote.

“I thought, along with council, this would be a good opportunity for everybody. This is a good avenue for getting people involved when they vote on how their money is spent on a certain project. This way the citizen knows exactly where their money is going,” said the mayor. “I think when people have the opportunity to vote, it lets their elected officials know if it’s a project worth while to go after.”

Mayor Stratton said he has been contacted through email saying the bill may not pass, however. At this point it’s a waiting game.

Thirty-eight other states allow at least one or more local governments the flexibility to assess a local option sales tax. Municipalities provide drinking water, utilities, garbage collection, sewer, police and fire protection, maintenance of roads and many other essential services to local businesses and industries which provides jobs and employment to local citizens.

Federal and state revenues for infrastructure, capital projects and road maintenance has declined or remained stagnant due to budget constraints. Limited revenue options at the local level have caused Kentucky cities to delay investments in infrastructure and other capital projects in order to meet the increased demands of other municipal services.

Economic development occurs where infrastructure and municipal services can be provided easily, and at a reasonable cost. Good infrastructure is essential to economic development and job creation.

The council and mayor of Russellville feel by passing the resolution that a temporary voter-approved one-cent local option sales tax would give citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky the ability to invest local tax dollars to improve the quality of life and economic development future of their community.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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