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Kentucky House Passes Local Option Sales Tax

Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort

The state House on Tuesday passed legislation that would allow Kentucky local governments to temporarily raise the sales tax by as much as 1 percent to funds local projects.

Sixty-two House member voted for the bill, which seeks to modify the state constitution and required at least 60 votes in favor.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a major supporter of the bill, briefly showed some relief in Frankfort after the House vote.

“Well, this is just one stop along the way, so getting it out of the House obviously is really critical point in the process. That’s great,” Fischer said. “But we’ll be going to work here in 15 minutes thinking about what the Senate strategy is and going after that.”

Under the proposed legislation, local voters would vote to temporarily increase the sales tax, which would expire once the needed funds for the project had been raised.

Rep. Jim Wayne, a Democrat from Louisville, opposed the legislation, saying that any increase in sales taxes would disproportionately impact people in poor neighborhoods.

“The people pushing this legislation are not from those neighborhoods,” Wayne said. “One of the things they’ve never talked about is considering how you would have the wealthy people pay more of their fair share in state and local taxes.”

Several rural representatives said their constituents wouldn’t benefit from the bill because they tend to shop in the big cities.

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Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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