A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows an overwhelming number of Kentuckians favor a constitutional amendment that would allow city residents to vote on whether to raise the state sales tax.
The survey found 72 percent of voters support the proposal, while 19 percent are opposed and another 9 percent are not sure. But legislative leaders from both parties in Frankfort have spoken out against the measure, preferring tax reform or raising other fees for special projects.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told WFPL the poll shows residents are behind the idea and he will continue to lobby state lawmakers.
“I’ve been talking to legislators in Frankfort along with other mayors and county judges from around the state to show them that there is in fact strong support at the grassroots level and we hope Frankfort will be listening to the people,” he says.
Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein of Lexington has filed a local option sales tax bill to amend, and it is awaiting a hearing in the state and local government committee.
The poll shows while residents favor having the option they aren’t clear if they would use it or not. Around 63 percent of voters were undecided on whether they’d favor raising their local sales tax, but supporters say that could depend largely on the proposed project.
“People want to have the right to vote, it’s what freedom and democracy is all about,” says Fischer. “They also see the need in the community for specific capital projects and love the idea of being able to participate in identifying them and then voting for them at a specific price, paid for in a specific way and having the project sunset.”
According to the mayor’s office, the option could bring Louisville an additional $90 million annually with a one percent hike to the sales tax.