Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer continues to push for a local sales tax option to fund future city services and projects.
The option would make it easier for the city to pay for services in the face of budget shortfalls. Currently, the state must approve a ballot initiative to increase local taxes for specific projects. In 2007, Louisville voters rejected such a tax referendum to pay for an expansion of the Louisville Free Public Library by a resounding 2-to-1 margin.
Fischer supports a change in state law that would allow individual counties to put temporary tax increases up for a local vote.
“Let’s say we want a new forensic crime lab in Louisville, costs $35 million dollars, could be public transportation, could be schools—but again they’re optional. So in other words the voters of your city, the voters of your county get to vote yes or no,” said Fischer at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting in Louisville.
Many other states have similar laws, and Fischer added that voters should have the responsibility to decide how and where the funds are spent.
“People that are closest to the action get to vote on whether or not they want these initiatives so that they are saying yes, I want to invest in this future of my community,” he said.
Fischer made his comments during a joint appearance with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. The two spoke on the competitiveness of cities in the global market and addressed other issues such as creating jobs and education.