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Local Option Sales Tax Measure Moves Out of Ky Committee

LRC Public Information

A bill to amend the Kentucky Constitution to give local governments the option of temporarily raising sale taxes is headed to the full House.

Local county governments generally support the constitutional amendment measure. If given final approval, Kentucky voters would decide whether to allow local governments to temporarily add a one percent sales tax on primarily big-ticket construction projects.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher believes the chance of passage this session is better than last year. “It’s changed obviously because we have a new budget coming out and the budget is austere, so I hope the senate understands that there should be more flexibility at the local level,” said Fisher.

The tax could only be used for specific projects and it would expire once the project is complete. House Speaker Greg Stumbo points out that the measure is being heard as voters prepare to elect four members in this week’s special elections. “Of the four vacancies, two of the members who are no longer here actually voted in support of this bill," Stumbo said. "And, it does take 60 votes. So votes are important and a full House is important."

If approved, local citizens would vote on the tax on a case by case basis. It could only be used for specific projects and would expire once the project is complete.

The measure has bipartisan support in the House where Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, a Republican, is a key co-sponsor. A similar proposal passed the House last year but died in the Senate.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he doesn’t support the measure. But he said the issue has not been formally discussed in the GOP caucus.

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