local option sales tax

6:36 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Kentucky's Local Option Sales Tax Push Gets Boost From Speaker Greg Stumbo

Credit Wikipedia Commons

A push to allow Kentucky's local governments to fund projects with  a 1-percent sales tax increase has won the support of key leadership in the state House.

All it took was a conversation between House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Gov. Steve Beshear, both Democrats.

After spending the past 50 days of the session criticizing the measure championed by Democratic Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Stumbo says he now supports legislation to allow local governments to fund capital construction projects with a new sales tax.

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Local News
7:01 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Local Option Sales Tax Gets Support From All Living Kentucky Governors

Greg Fischer
Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's push for a local option sales tax in Kentucky has gotten support from all the state's living former governors.

Fischer is again scheduled to testify Tuesday to a House committee about the taxing option, which would allow communities to impose a temporary sales tax to fund specific projects with voter approval.  Fischer expects the committee to vote on the proposal.

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Local News
1:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's Push for Local Option Sales Tax Criticized From the Left

Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is continuing his push for the local option sales tax, which would let communities vote on temporary sales tax increases to fund projects. But Fischer, a Democrat,  is facing opposition to the plan—from the left.

In a 15-minute pitch in Frankfort, Fischer extolled the civic virtues of a sales tax that he says would be used to fund local projects chosen by committee and placed on a ballot before voters.

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3:46 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Local Option Sales Tax Proposal Filed in Kentucky Senate as Mayor Greg Fischer Outlines More Details

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

A Kentucky state senator has filed legislation to let residents vote on raising the local sales tax for special projects, but he is already doubting its passage in the 2014 legislative session.

Republican Paul Hornback of Shelbyville introduced the bill on Tuesday. It would allow local residents vote on temporary tax increases to pay for special projects.

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Local News
4:06 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's State of the City: 'We've Got to Up Our Game'

Credit Louisville Mayor's Office

Mayor Greg Fischer is challenging residents to invest in Louisville—so the city can speed growth and establish itself as an internationally competitive metro area.

At the annual State of the City address on Thursday, Fischer said “we’ve got to up our game” to keep up with other cities.

“We’re not investing fast enough in our built environment, not when we compare ourselves to the best growing cities around the world,” said Fischer,  speaking to a full room in the Triple Crown Club at Churchill Downs.

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9:58 am
Tue January 7, 2014

What to Expect from the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly

Credit File photo

As temperatures in Kentucky slowly climb out of the polar abyss, so too will state lawmakers emerge from their districts and trek to Frankfort for the opening day of the 2014 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

The session starts Tuesday.

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Local News
12:00 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

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

Robert Stivers
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

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.

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2:00 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers to Discuss Local Option Sales Tax

Credit File photo

A committee in the Kentucky General Assembly will discuss the idea of giving local voters an option to raise their sales tax to fund special projects.

State lawmakers tell WFPL they are keeping an open mind, but some cite a recent study showing Louisville is already a heavily tax-burdened city.

For the past year, Mayor Greg Fischer has been lobbying the General Assembly and others to support the idea.

The specifics haven't been unveiled, but in general a local option would allow voters to approve a temporary 1-percent tax increase that would go towards specific efforts such as new infrastructure.

A report conducted by the University of Louisville found such as tool could generate up to $138 million in revenue for the city.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Riggs of Louisville is co-chair of the Interim Committee on Local Government, which is holding a hearing to discuss the proposal on Wednesday.

He says a temporary tax is an intriguing idea, but it is important legislators learn more about the proposal.

"I'm leaning for it because I see so many other communities around the nation that do it and I love letting the citizen decide and giving the citizen the liberty to determine where there money goes without sending it to Frankfort first and then it goes somewhere else. I love that part of it,” he says.

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Local News
7:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Ken Fleming: Local Option Sales Tax is an Option, but Louisville Must Address Taxes, Revenue

Janet Kelly and Ken Fleming
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming sees nuance with the potential adoption of a local option sales tax in Kentucky and in the city. But he doesn't see nuance if nothing is done.

“We’ll keep flipping around like a fish on a dock," Fleming said on Tuesday.

The East Louisville Republican was introducing on Tuesday a study he'd commissioned on the effects of a local option sales tax, which generally allows local governments to issue a sales tax to fund projects.  

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9:59 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Study: Local Option Sales Tax Would Generate Significant Revenue, but Burden Louisville Taxpayers

A 1-percent local option sales tax would generate $138 million in revenue for the city, but add to an already heavy burden for Louisville taxpayers.

That's according to a study by a University of Louisville research center released Tuesday.

The report conducted by the Urban Studies Institute was paid for with discretionary funds from Republican Councilman Ken Fleming's office earlier this year.

It is the first official examination of the idea, which is being spearheaded by Mayor Greg Fischer as a way to create additional revenue for Metro Government.

Among the chief findings in the 40-page report is that Louisville has the highest income tax rate among its 14 peer cities at about $7,720 for hypothetical family of four with two income earners. The city also has the third-highest overall tax burden when compared to competitor cities property, income and sales taxes combined. 

Fischer has said the local option isn't a tax increase but rather emphasized it's choice for local voters to invest into the community and fund key capital projects. But according to the study, introducing a 1-percent sales tax would bump Louisville up to the second-highest overall taxed city among its peers.

Fleming says he sponsored the study to examine the economic impact and better inform the public, adding its shows the benefits and pitfalls of the plan.

"This study does a really good job at taking an objective point of view and looking at data that provides both the pros and cons of what we're trying to do," he says. "We should have had this debate last year or two years ago, and we need to have it now to understand where we are economically."

Among the benefits of a local option outlined in the study is it help diversifies the city's revenue stream, which is limited to occupational, insurance premiums and property taxes.

The study says due to Louisville's position as a retail shopping and entertainment center a local option could shift a sizeable percentage of the sales taxes those who live outside the county. The effect could mean residents would enjoy economic windfalls for infrastructure or other capitol projects at a reduced tax price.

And depending on the economy, it estimates anywhere from $140 million to $160 million in projected revenue, which is nearly twice as much as the $95 million a year that Fischer's office estimated.

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