Lexington Mayor Jim Gray made his case to lawmakers in Frankfort Thursday that his constituents could benefit from a local option sales tax.
Testifying before the House Economic Development Committee Gray said cities and counties should have the right to ask local voters to support a sales tax increase for specific projects and initiatives over a specific time frame. In Kentucky it would take a constitutional amendment in order for that to happen.
"We know that state government, and we've learned that the federal government as well can no longer afford to fund all of our needs. That's why cities and counties need new revenue tools and new options...and we've said within limits. So our plan for a local option sales tax gives taxpayers a say, a vote...thumbs up or thumbs down," Gray said.
Gray says in Lexington’s case, the additional revenue could be used for things like new fire stations, roads, sewers, bridges, sidewalk, neighborhood parks and affordable housing, but not a revamped Rupp Arena and Convention Center.
Eileen Pickett with the group LIFT, (Local Investment For Transformation), which backs the effort, estimates that a 1% sales tax increase for Fayette County would provide an additional $34 million in additional tax dollars.
The panel took no action on the proposal.