Mayor proposing local option sales tax for Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mayor proposing local option sales tax for Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---For business owners like Butch Sager with Gifthorse, sales tax is a topic that comes up often when people from out-of-state visit his store.

"And they ask sometimes what our sales tax is and the minute they hear it's 6% they really are most of the time in disbelief," says Butch Sager.

Kentucky's current 6% sales tax is what Mayor Greg Fischer spoke to Metro Council members about on Thursday.

The main issue at hand is how to fund additional projects to help Louisville continue to grow.

"Public Works Department estimates we need about 60 million dollars just to get our bridges, sidewalks and roads up to snuff. Where's that gonna come from? It's not going to come from the general fund," says Mayor Greg Fischer.

Rather, he's proposing a local option sales tax of up to one percent, which would temporarily push the sales tax up to 7 percent.

Mayor Fischer estimates it would generate about $90 million dollars a year in extra revenue.

It has Metro-Council members on both sides of the issue.

"Is this right option, the right method-to sit here and basically tax the citizens even more," asks Republican councilman Ken Fleming of District 7.

"I think it's an exciting approach that we can look at and I think citizens will be interested in having a say," says Democratic councilman Rick Blackwell of District 12.

However, it will take a number of steps for this to happen before people in Louisville even get a chance to vote on it.

"So the first step to change the constitution is we need 60% of the House and 60% of the Senate to vote to put this on the statewide referendum," says Mayor Greg Fischer.

Then, after a statewide vote officials will agree on projects with feedback from community members, then sending the vote to Louisville residents.

"It gives us more of a voice in what's happening and I think that's great that kind of inclusion is brought about," says Butch Sager.

If this gets the approval it needs at the state level, local officials would decide on projects, how much the tax would be for, and the length of time it would be in place. 

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