FRANKFORT Backers of a constitutional amendment which would allow local municipalities to enact a time-limited, project-specific sales tax of 1 percent or less want you to keep two words in mind: “local” and “option.”
Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo and House Republican Minority Leader Jeff Hoover will co-sponsor the “Local Investments for Transformation” (LIFT) legislation along with Rep. Tommy Thompson, D-Owensboro. They were joined Friday by the mayors of Louisville and Lexington and the Daviess County Judge/Executive at a capitol press conference to push for its passage.
The idea, said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer “is democracy at its best. Let people choose what they want to do at the local level.”
The amendment would require approval by two-thirds vote of each legislative chamber and then approval by voters on the ballot in 2016. (Constitutional amendments in Kentucky can appear only on ballots in even-numbered years.) If that happens, local voters would still have to approve such projects and taxes.
Fischer said 37 states have such a tax and roughly two-thirds of referenda in those states have succeeded.
A similar measure died in the House in the 2014 General Assembly but Stumbo said support has since grown. He will designate the measure House Bill 1, indicating his top priority.
It wasn’t clear how the idea will fare in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said in a statement released by his office that the bill may turn out to be a good idea, but “this is one of those bills that is going to have play out and there is going to have to be a lot of discussion on whether it is the right thing to do.”
He also contrasted Stumbo’s and Democrats’ support for local control on a sales tax with their opposition to local governments passing local right-to-work laws.
By RONNIE ELLIS CNHI News Service, The Independent Online