Representatives of some of Kentucky’s largest cities are continuing to push for a local sales tax option. The question is before the General Assembly in the form of bills from both the House and the Senate. If approved by legislators, and by voters in a statewide referendum, communities could vote on raising taxes by an additional penny per dollar to pay for local projects.
House Bill Sponsor House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson believes the legislation has a chance this session. The Owensboro representative says it’s a matter of “home rule," “If they want to do it, they make that decision. If they don’t want to do it, they make that decision."
Thompson continued, "All we do at this level, we don’t impose any taxes, we just people the right to choose. And I don’t think there’s anything more fundamental in our democracy than that."
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has consistently supported the local tax option, mentioning it specifically during this year's State of the City address. This week, he offered testimony in support before a House committee.
Gray reiterated the tax option has nothing to do with the planned reworking of Rupp Arena, but, "going forward the future plans for the Town Branch, for example, in Lexington would be a candidate, but so would fire stations, so would police and fire vehicles, so would streets and sidewalks and parks."
The mayor says the local sales tax option law has worked in some 37 other states. He says it’s important to remember local citizens have the final say at the ballot box when voting on specific projects.