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Thu May 6, 2010
Mayoral Candidates Talk Tax Reform
By Stu Johnson
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- – With tax revenues down, candidates in the Lexington's mayoral race were asked Wednesday night about tax reform. They were participating in one of the last candidates' forums before this month's primary election.
Incumbent Jim Newberry says the city needs tax reform but believes the state will likely not pass the necessary legislation.
"What kind of reform would I propose? Well something that would eliminate that over concentration and would provide a broader base of tax support so we don't have all of our eggs in one basket so when these economic downturns occur we would be in a stronger position."
Because Lexington relies heavily on its payroll tax to fund services, Vice mayor Jim Gray says the state legislature should give the city some leeway in making changes.
"If I could wave a magic wand of course I would want to change to where Lexington could pick up some of the sales tax revenue of course I would but the real struggle and real challenge today is to live within our means."
Former Mayor Teresa Issac says a tax amnesty program can help persuade those people who do not pay their fair share to pay up. She adds those tax dollars should be dedicated to specific purposes.
"Then you have to look at what is required in the charter and that's the only thing you spend money on."
Lexington businessman Skip Horine says the current tax structure is OK, but he says new priorities should be set.
"We need to get our financial house in order before we can make determinations as to whether we raise or lower taxes and also what the taxes should look like."
The two hour forum was organized by WVLK Radio.