Senate moves to curtail special taxing districts

The bill passed the Senate with a 22-14 vote
Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, sponsor of SB 25.
Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, sponsor of SB 25.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 14, 2018) – The Senate passed legislation today that would require a county fiscal court or city council to approve any proposed tax by a special purpose government entity – such as a library, sewer district or volunteer fire department.

“Senate Bill 25 is a bill that attempts to return Kentucky to the foundational roots of our country,” said sponsor Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester. “The term taxation without representation is, unfortunately, alive and well.

He said that in 2014 the Kentucky State Auditor found more than 1,200 special districts collected $1.5 billion in taxes and fees.

The finding prompted legislation that required special purpose government entities to hold public meetings before increasing taxes and fees and give special reports to fiscal courts regarding their budgets. But despite that, Alvarado said, these districts continue to impose fees and raise taxes against the will of the people.

“Unfortunately these districts are composed of bureaucrats and not elected officials,” Alvarado said. “I feel it is fundamentally un-American to have individuals who can impose taxes on society without those individuals having to answer for their actions at the ballot box.”

SB 25 was amended to exempt local airport boards. Co-sponsor Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, said he introduced the amendment to make sure that charges such as baggage fees, would not fall under the provisions of the bill. Schroder’s district includes the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport.

Co-sponsor Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, rose in support of SB 25. He said some variation of the bill had passed the Senate the last five years.

“It can’t be overstated … why this bill is so important in dealing with taxation without representation,” Schickel said.

SB 25 passed by a 22-14 vote. It now goes the House for further consideration.

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