Mayor Gray Calls for Local Tax Option in State of the City Address

Jan 21, 2014

Lexington’s mayor would like the city to have the ability to support specific projects with dedicated tax funds.  This was one of many of items in Mayor Jim Gray’s state of the city address, delivered Tuesday during a luncheon sponsored by the Lexington Forum.


Mayor Gray says community needs, like transportation projects and major park improvements, aren’t even being considered because of a lack of funds.

But, such projects could be funded if Kentucky lawmakers approve a local sales tax option.  if enacted at the state level, the option would allow cities to put a one percent sales tax question before voters.  Gray says such a tax increase would mean an additional 34 million dollars a year for Lexington,  “We need new options.  One of those options is a local options voter referendum that would allow voters to support or oppose up to a one percent local sales tax for specific capital projects for a limited amount of time.”

The issue has been brought before the Lexington Council, but not for a formal vote.  Council member Kevin Stinnett is not convinced this is the time to move forward with more taxes, “Well, you know I think it’s a tough sell to the community.  You know, we’re just coming off a major recession.  You, know I think any time you are coming off a recession, people are still not back to work like we want them to be, I think it’s a tough sell to the public.”

The Kentucky League of Cities supports the local sales tax option as a way of helping local communities fund needed projects.