Northern Kentucky judge-executives open to local sales tax option

09/30/2014 03:03 PM

The Northern Kentucky judge-executives of Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties say that they would be open to the possibility of a local sales tax option to fund certain capital projects.

Proponents of the local sales tax option say the initiative would give voters a chance to vote on raising taxes over a specified amount of time to help fund needed local projects.

The idea was floated in the January 60-day legislative session, but never made it to the House floor for a vote as House leadership was split over the proposal.

Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore says that he’s heard rumors that legislation concerning local sales tax options could be House Bill 1 for the 2015 session.

“There are some rumblings that this could be House Bill 1 in the upcoming session,” said Moore. “If that is the case, it’ll be a quite interesting discussion in Frankfort and something that you’ll be hearing a whole lot more about.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, changed his mind on the legislation late in the session after speaking to the governor and state business owners.

Campbell County Judge-Executive Steve Pendery says the local sales tax option is something that is becoming more necessary as Kentucky evolves from mostly rural to more urban in many areas.

“I think the urbanized areas need to have tools in the toolbox and some flexibility to get projects done and do the things they need to, assuming their citizens are willing to foot the bill and support the idea,” said Pendery.

Kenton County Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus says he can see projects such as an expanded Northern Kentucky Convention Center being one that could benefit from a local sales tax option.

“We’ve clamored for a need of a much larger convention center than we have today,” said Arlinghaus. “If we have had a local option sales tax, the public in Northern Kentucky, Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties could vote on this. The benefit of the project really has to be worth it.”

The three judge-executives shared their views as part of the State of Northern Kentucky program sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.


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