Nov 23, 2012 8:18 PM
NEWPORT (AP) - A proposal to allow local governments to levy a temporary sales tax with voter approval has the support of municipalities.
The Kentucky Enquirer reports the measure, which was recommended this week by Gov. Steve Beshear's tax reform commission, has endorsements from the Kentucky League of Cities, and counties and cities across the state.
Local government officials say they are limited by how they can raise revenue for large capital projects under the current tax structure.
Newport City Manager Tom Fromme says cities with several retail establishments would like to use the sales tax option instead of raising property taxes. He said it would allow more people to share the burden of paying for projects, including visitors and renters.
"I'm not asking for the moon," Fromme said. "It's a trade-off. It becomes more equitably distributed amongst all residents rather than a select few, and the select few right now are property owners."
J.D. Chaney, chief governmental affairs officer with the Kentucky League of Cities, said a temporary sales tax might have the best chance to pass the General Assembly.
"It's voter approved. We're authorizing the elected leaders of the community to take a vote and put it on the ballot for their constituents," he said.
Florence Mayor Diane Whalen said she supports the measure but doesn't think it would be much use - Boone County residents voted down a park tax in 2008.
"I don't think there's any harm in giving cities the option to do that," Whalen said. "But lobbying of the citizens on why they should vote for a local option sales tax is difficult. You saw that when they talked about a parks tax. Voters were not the least bit interested in voting to increase a tax."
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)