Business owners say new Kentucky sales tax is 'coming out of our pocket'
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bill Riggle is 69 years old and has mowed grass for decades. He cuts several lawns in the Northfield neighborhood off of Brownsboro Road.
But after a new sales tax on some services took effect last month, he now says grass isn’t the only thing getting cut; so is his bottom line.
“They'll say ‘Hey, can we save a little bit here if you don't trim this week?’” said Todd Riggle, Bill's son and the owner of Papaw's Lawn Maintenance. “You lose 10 yards, and that adds up into $300, [which is a major] loss of income. So now it's coming out of our pocket.”
The Riggles' clients are blaming the new 6 percent sales tax on some services that took effect last month in Kentucky. Some lawmakers consider lawn care a luxury, so it took the hit, while other services did not.
“I talked to a painter just the other day,” Todd Riggle said. “They don't have to pay it.”
He said most of their clients are elderly and can't mow on their own. He said they can’t afford lawn maintenance, especially if they’re on fixed incomes.
“For them, it’s not a luxury,” Todd Riggle said. “That's a big concern, because these people don't have an option.”
Some lawmakers say this tax reform will actually put more money in people's pockets. While they're paying more for some services, income taxes are decreasing.
“Right now, we are the 10th-lowest personal income tax for people in the country, and we want to get that even lower,” Rep. Ken Fleming said.
There are several layers to the tax reform bill, and some pieces may change how people are taxed on fixed incomes. Some retirees will actually end up paying more, because they’re getting less of a tax break on retirement income.
Ultimately, lawmakers say the fights not over, and they're still looking for solutions.
“We are trying to address those issues for those individuals who are on a fixed income by looking at some kind of increase and standardized exemption or giving a credit,” Fleming said. “And that is not off our radar screen.”
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