The budget proposal being discussed in the Kentucky General Assembly contains a new infusion of money for counties that are powered by or distribute power for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
As a federal entity, TVA doesn’t pay property taxes on any of its assets in 39 southern and western Kentucky counties. Instead, the utility pays an in-lieu-of tax to the state, which is five percent of its gross sales. Seventy-percent of that money goes back to TVA counties and 30 percent remains in the state’s general fund. State Representative Bart Rowland of Tompkinsville is co-sponsoring a measure to return more of those dollars to TVA counties.
"What we've proposed is to bring half or up to six million dollars of that 30 percent back to TVA counties and restrict it for economic development purposes. Either build a spec building or new industrial site, things like that," Rowland told WKU Public Radio. "A lot of our smaller counties like Monroe where I'm from, they've got economic development boards set up but they've never had any seed money to go out and development an industrial site."
The funds would also allow the region more opportunities to take advantage of federal grants via local matches.
Under the measure, an additional $2 million would be evenly divided among the 39 counties in the first year of the budget and then $4 million in the second year.
The measure was originally a stand-alone bill, but was rolled into the House budget, which is under consideration now in the Senate.