Local/Regional News
11:57 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Metro Leaders to Draft Legislation for Local Option Sales Tax

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Though the effort for a local option sales tax lacks support from principals in the General Assembly, Mayor Greg Fischer and other leaders from Kentucky's largest communities still went to Frankfort on Tuesday to push for a constitutional amendment.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (L) and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (R) are now part of a group called the Metropolitan Alliance for Growth. The alliance is encouraging lawmakers to tackle pension reforms and a constitution to allow a local option tax for infrastructure projects, to be decided by voters.

Calling themselves the Metropolitan Alliance for Growth, the group is creating its own draft of legislation for a local option sales tax—but they call it LIFT, for Local Investments for Transformation.

The alliance is encouraging lawmakers to tackle pension reforms and a constitution to allow a local option tax for infrastructure projects, to be decided by voters.  The alliance—which Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray lead— is made up of local officials from the state's metro areas, including Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky.

Bearing in mind legislative leaders' reservation about the local option sales tax, Fischer said the alliance is on a campaign to education people.

"The concept is, the money would return to where it's created," Fischer said. "That's the challenge right now in Frankfort."

State Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, has already filed such a bill, but it appears the Metro Alliance will not use it to push the issue.

The group did not endorse any specific proposals for pension reforms, but Gray said bonding didn't work for his city's problems.

"At the end of the day, benefits have to be adjusted, terms have to be adjusted," Gray said. "And the institution itself, in our case the city, had to step up and say, we're going to raise our contribution."