News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Local Sales Tax is High Priority for Kentucky Legislature

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort

Kentucky House leaders are joining the mayors of the state's two largest cities in lobbying for a local sales tax option.

The proposal is characterized as a way for local citizens to have a say in how designated tax funds are spent. If the bill is adopted by the legislature, and then statewide by voters, local governments could put up to a one percent sales tax before their citizens. In some 37 other states, the approach has been used to pay for specific projects and then the tax ends.

Mack Brown of Louisville's Brown Forman distillery came to Frankfort to support the local tax option.

"There's just a shortage of money coming from Frankfort to communities and communities still have needs,” said Forman. “So, it allows the people to decide what they want to take care of and how to do it."

Such a law would allow localities to propose up to a one percent sales tax to pay for specific projects.  Each project would require a separate local vote. Once paid for, the local levy would sunset. 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says it could allow state funds to be spent on other pressing needs.  But, he says it wouldn't mean an end to state-funded local projects.

"No, because I don't envision that all local communities would adopt this particular proposal but, it's obviously gonna be up the will of the future members of these chambers to decide that," said Stumbo. 

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said today in Frankfort the local sales tax option is not feasible to support renovations such as that proposed for Rupp Arena. 

If it clears the legislative and statewide voter hurdles, it would still be 2018 before local communities could enact such taxes. ?

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
Related Content