Local Sales Tax Option Faces Tough Senate Opponents

Mar 11, 2014

A call from city officials across the state for a local sales tax option faces tough sledding in the Kentucky legislature.  

But, a veteran Kentucky senator believes some additional monies may be generated in other ways.

Jessamine County Senator Tom Buford doesn’t expect the proposal to even get a hearing in the 38 member senate.  The longtime lawmaker says there are worries local governments would always have a project to support with a local sales tax.   Buford says there are also concerns the state may get stuck with a bill later on. 

“Once the infrastructure is built, then that community comes back to the general assembly for more funding to help maintain the facility that they’ve just constructed.  It is a never ending and it would be huge,” said Buford.

Buford says the state cost could be sizeable if 50 to 60 cities passed a local sales tax increase and sought maintenance dollars from the legislature.  

Retiring Morehead Senator Walter Blevins still believes it’s an issue for local communities to decide.  

“It’s a tough time to have any kind of controversial bills, whether it’s casinos, whether it’s tax reform, or even if it’s this bill on local option tax," said Blevins.   "We can’t even get that passed and again that’s left up to the people to decide".

Blevins, who’s announced plans to run for county judge in Rowan County, says money from a local tax increase could go to further recreational needs in the community.

Buford, meanwhile, believes state parks could see additional money coming in.  He says there’s some interest in budget language to allow alcoholic drink licenses at all state parks.  

“We could possibly reduce our appropriations to the parks, if they were able to attract more business, not necessarily renting the rooms, because they do pretty good at that, but to provide the services to pick up additional fees by having large groups there more continuously that would use those products and services,” added Buford.

Buford and Blevins both agree on one matter.  It will once again be difficult to reach a budget consensus in a few weeks, possibly paving the way for a special legislative session.