Local option sales tax bill filed in Kentucky House - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local option sales tax bill filed in Kentucky House

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's local option sales tax plan gained a foothold in the Kentucky House on Friday with the introduction of a bill that would change the state's Constitution to allow cities and counties to levy their own sales taxes.

The legislation – sponsored by three Republicans and 14 Democrats – joins a companion bill that was introduced earlier in the week by Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville.

"The supporters of the bill are both rural and urban, Republican and Democrat," Fischer told reporters. "It shows how the whole state is coming together understanding that citizens want the ability to vote on specific projects on the ballot. When those projects are paid for, capital projects, that tax sunsets – it goes away."

Hornback told WDRB.com on Wednesday that he doubted his bill would pass this year. But asked about the chances of the legislation clearing the General Assembly, Fischer said, "The trend is definitely positive."

Fischer and Louisville Metro Council member Vicki Welch, who spoke to reporters Friday morning, both cited a recent Bluegrass Poll's findings that 60 percent of Kentuckians want to vote on a sales tax increase to pay for local projects.

"I think that will resonate through the legislature and let them know that, yes, their people do want to vote. They do want to chance to be able to vote on this issue," Welch said.

The three House Republicans among House Bill 399's co-sponsors include Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown and Minority Whip "Bam" Carney of Campbellsville.

House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson, D-Owensboro, is the bill's main sponsor.

Like Hornback's bill, the House legislation would give a city or county the power to assess a local sales tax of up to 1 percent – if local voters approve. The new tax would be in addition to the statewide sales tax of 6 percent.

The local tax would stay in place until a project is paid off.

In Kentucky, a constitutional amendment needs approval from three-fifths of both chambers of the General Assembly before it can be placed on a statewide ballot.

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