local option sales tax

Business/Politics
4:33 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Not So Fast: Local Option Sales Tax Bill Hits Delay in Kentucky House

House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson (left) and Rep. Brad Montell in the Kentucky House chamber
Credit Kentucky LRC

A bill to amend the Kentucky constitution to allow voters to choose projects funded by a 1 percent sales tax has been delayed in the House.

The measure, championed by the mayors of Louisville and Lexington, does not have enough votes to pass in that chamber right now, according to Democratic Majority Whip Tommy Thompson.

“We have a few people that have some good questions about that don’t quite understand it, so we want to clear that up," the Daviess County Democrat said. "And then there’s a few more people that we wanted to talk to to kinda see where they were, but I think we’re very close.”

Thompson says the measure is shy by a number of votes “in the single digits,” and he expects it to come for a floor vote Monday.

The measure gained renewed momentum this week after House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he changed his mind after talking with Gov. Steve Beshear, who urged him to support it.

Politics
8:46 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Stumbo Reverses Course, Now Says He Supports Local Option Sales Tax Bill

House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) came in for criticism from Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover (right).
Credit Kentucky LRC

A series of bills that would amend the state constitution and implement a local option sales tax to fund city and county projects has won support in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Thursday he now supports the bill following a conversation with Gov. Steve Beshear, and expects it to head to the House floor for a vote.

House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins says the bill will likely be voted on Friday in order to give the Senate enough time to discuss it.

“I know that the issue is being worked right now, and don’t know myself … exactly where the vote count is, but I know there’s a lot of work going in by a lot of people to see if the votes are there to be able to bring it out here and debate it and see if it can more forward," said Adkins, a Democrat from Sandy Hook.

One House Republican had some strong words for Stumbo regarding his apparent about-face.

“It shows that he’s playing every side that he can," said Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover of Russell Springs. "He’s concerned about the political ramifications in November, and he’s playing every side that he can on every issue that he can and this is another example.”

If passed, the measure would go before voters this November, and would implement a 1 percent sales tax on top of Kentucky’s 6 percent sales tax to fund local projects.

Business/Politics
8:48 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Louisville Mayor Pushing Local Option Sales Tax, but Faces Opposition from Fellow Democrats

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is continuing his push for the local option sales tax, which would let communities vote on temporary sales tax increases to fund projects.

The Democratic mayor is facing opposition to the plan, but not from where you might expect. Much of the criticism of the effort comes from the political left.

In a 15-minute pitch in Frankfort, Fischer extolled the civic virtues of a sales tax that he says would be used to fund local projects chosen by committee and placed on a ballot before voters.

“We need additional capital sources," the mayor told his audience. "In the case of Louisville, 11 years ago four percent of our general fund was for pensions. Today it’s 15 percent. So it’s like a business, we’ve had an 11 percent increase in our expenses, but we haven’t been able to raise our prices; that is, we haven’t had a tax increase.”

But fellow Louisvillian and fellow Democrat Rep. Jim Wayne cited a study that showed the local option means lower income residents would pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than wealthier residents.

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Business
11:09 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Metro Leaders to Draft Legislation for Local Option Sales Tax

Though the effort for a local option sales tax lacks support from principals in the General Assembly, Mayor Greg Fischer and other leaders from Kentucky's largest communities still went to Frankfort on Tuesday to push for a constitutional amendment.

Calling themselves the Metropolitan Alliance for Growth, the group is creating its own draft of legislation for a local option sales tax—but they call it LIFT, for Local Investments for Transformation.

The alliance is encouraging lawmakers to tackle pension reforms and a constitution to allow a local option tax for infrastructure projects, to be decided by voters.  The alliance—which Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray lead— is made up of local officials from the state's metro areas, including Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky.

Bearing in mind legislative leaders' reservation about the local option sales tax, Fischer said the alliance is on a campaign to education people.

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Politics
5:00 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Kentucky Legislative Leaders Opposed to Local Option Sales Tax

Gov. Steve Beshear (left), Senate President Robert Stivers, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky LRC

Kentucky's top two legislative leaders say the local option sales tax isn't likely to come up this year.

The local option would allow cities and counties to put temporary sales tax increases to a public vote. It would typically be used to pay for infrastructure projects.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are the major forces behind the option, and a bill amending the state Constitution to allow it has been filed in the Senate.

But Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber doesn't want to put more tax burdens on individuals.

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Economy
2:21 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Beshear Gives Support to Local Option Sales Tax Idea

Proponents of a local option sales tax have gained big ally in their legislative fight: Gov. Steve Beshear.

The local option sales tax would allow cities to levy an additional tax on top of the state’s current six percent sales tax for specific projects, if local voters approved the new tax.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are the chief advocates pushing the idea, arguing their cities would use the extra revenue for infrastructure projects.

Speaking on Wednesday to the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, Beshear says he’s all for the idea.

“Well you know politicians are famous for being on both sides of an issue so let me say this… I’m for it,” Beshear says.

To go into effect, lawmakers would have to amend the state constitution and then statewide voters would have to approve the amendment.

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Business
10:17 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Kentucky AG: Constitutional Amendment Needed to Enact Local Option Sales Tax

The mayors of Lexington and Louisville believe Kentucky needs a local option sales tax to stay competitive. The tax is levied temporarily to finance public infrastructure projects, but an opinion issued this week by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office says voters would first need to approve a constitutional amendment. 

According to the opinion, local governments nor the General Assembly may enact a local option sales tax without changing the state constitution. The Courier-Journal reports the opinion was requested by the Louisville Metro Council. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray want counties to be able to locally increase the statewide sales tax and use the additional revenue for public projects.  Voters would have to approve the tax and the projects it would fund in a local referendum.

In an opinion issued Monday by Attorney General Jack Conway, the first step would be amending the state constitution.

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