Kentucky Senate President: Local Option Sales Tax Presents a Dilemma for Republicans

An effort in Kentucky to fund projects with a new local option sales tax is posing a dilemma for Republican lawmakers.

Democratic Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer pushing for the state to allow for the local option sales tax, which would allow communities to have public votes on temporary sales tax increases to pay for new projects.

But Republican State Senate President Robert Stivers says it’s difficult to balance higher taxes against civic improvement.

“My caucus is not one that generally is out advocating the raising of taxes, but we are also a caucus that is very much in conformity with the belief that local determination should be given great deference,” Stivers says.

The concept presents a quandary for Republicans.

“Well, do we want to advocate taxes, or are we looking for local control, home rule, you know?” Stiver says. “It has created quite the discussion over here is the best way I can say, but until we watch and see what the House does, it’s not one of the issues we’re going to be dealing with or talking about.”

All revenue-raising measures must originate in the state House according to Kentucky law.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has voiced support for the measure, but still says he has reservations about it.

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