TVA Economic Development Bill Advances In Legislature

Mar 12, 2018

Credit Alexey Stiop, 123rf stock photo

Kentucky counties that purchase power from the Tennessee Valley Authority--or have TVA property--could get a new infusion of money in the next state budget.

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 5% of its gross sales. 

70% of that money goes back to TVA counties and 30% remains in the state’s general fund.  The state budget proposal that’s passed the House would return half of that 30% to TVA counties.  State Representative Bart Rowland of Tompkinsville is co-sponsoring the measure.

"What we've proposed is to bring half or up to $6 million of that 30% back to TVA counties and restrict it for economic development purposes,” said Rowland. “Either build a spec building or new industrial site, things like that."

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. He says the additional funds would go toward economic development. 

"A lot of our smaller counties like Monroe where I'm from, Metcalfe, Cumberland, they've got economic development boards set up but they've never had any seed money to go out and development an industrial site,” said Rowland.

Rowland said each TVA county would get about $150,000 more in the next state budget.  The measure was originally a stand-alone bill, but was rolled into the budget.  Rowland said he thinks the prospects of it clearing the legislature are good.