Lawmakers set to create more accountability for taxing districts - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lawmakers set to create more accountability for taxing districts

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky House convened at noon on Tuesday, as House Speaker Greg Stumbo unveiled legislation to create more accountability for special taxing districts.

Such districts spend about $2.7 billion a year on everything from rural fire departments to libraries. 

The bill is designed to help Kentuckians track how taxpayer money is being spent.  It details the reporting requirements for anyone spending taxpayer dollars.  It also creates an online registry so Kentucky residents can gather information on spending and track where that taxpayer money goes.

"This is an important piece of legislation, one that will go a long way in ensuring that Kentucky taxpayers know how their hard earned money is being spent," Speaker Stumbo said Tuesday.

"My effort to answer basic questions about special districts was a significant first step toward shining light on a $2.7 billion layer of ghost government in the commonwealth," Auditor Adam Edelen said.

The House is also expected to take on tax reform.  Louisville Rep. Jim Wayne unveiled a plan Tuesday that would raise some taxes while lowering others.  "Our current tax code is badly outdated and incapable of moving Kentucky forward," Wayne said in a news release. "We can't begin to address many of the challenges until we face, such as improving our schools, until we have a system designed for the 21st Century." 

Under the legislation, which is House Bill 142, the state cigarette tax would increase by $1.  The working poor would receive a new earned income tax credit.  Other provisions of the plan include a mixture of tax hikes in some areas while lowering them in other areas. 

The plan is expected to increase the amount of money the state brings in by $815 million each year, according to Wayne. 

Wayne said, "The time has come to make sure Kentucky has the resources to support our schools, services for the elderly, our roads and bridges, law enforcement, the environment and the state's economic vitality."

Lawmakers will be in session through the end of March.

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