Home » House leaders, mayors unveil local-option sales tax as House Bill 1

House leaders, mayors unveil local-option sales tax as House Bill 1

Proposal known as LIFT, Local Investments for Transformation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2014)– House Speaker Greg Stumbo and House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson joined with House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Daviess County Judge/Executive Al Mattingly this morning to announce that the local-option sales tax will be the focus of House Bill 1 during the 2015 Regular Session.

The proposal is known as LIFT, which stands for Local Investments for Transformation. Currently, 37 states allow their communities to vote on whether they would like to institute a temporary sales tax – a penny or less in Kentucky’s proposal – that is entirely dedicated to a specific project. Those range from parks, arenas and convention centers to new infrastructure specifically designed to lure new businesses to Kentucky.

“This legislation is truly democracy at work, because it will be up to voters to decide whether to approve this constitutional amendment, and then communities will be able to decide whether they want to use this tool,” Stumbo said. “Many other states have had great success with this approach, and I hope Kentucky can join them.”

“I believe LIFT has the opportunity to be a game-changer for Kentucky,” House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins of Morehead said. “There are many projects that might otherwise never leave the drawing table without this approach. It has my support.”

“Communities should be empowered in every way possible,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Giving citizens more say in their future helps create vibrant places that will attract new talent, new jobs, and new opportunities. Public surveys have consistently shown there’s overwhelming support across the commonwealth for local option — people want and deserve the right to vote.”

“Local-option sales tax gives citizens the opportunity to decide whether they want to invest their tax dollars in a specific project in their community. Once the project is complete, the additional one penny in sales tax goes away,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said. “Citizens around Lexington tell me they support this approach. That’s because it makes sense. Speaker Stumbo and Minority Leader Hoover recognize this change will help all Kentucky cities and counties, no matter how big or how small, provide economic growth and opportunity.”

The legislative leaders presented House Bill 1 along with other House members from across the state. If the proposed constitutional amendment is approved by the General Assembly next year, voters will have the opportunity to support it during the November 2016 election, since amendments can only appear on the ballot in even-numbered years. Communities would then vote to decide whether to move forward with building the project they choose.

LIFT supporters noted that recent statewide polls show that 60 percent of Kentuckians favor this local approach.

A significant number of officials and organizations have also endorsed the concept, including all governors from Wendell Ford to Steve Beshear, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) and the Kentucky League of Cities, among many others.