Stumbo, Hoover, others back local option sales tax – The Independent Online

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

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