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Local Option Sales Tax Lives Again


A House committee has revived the local option sales tax. The initiative allowing communities to vote on temporary sales tax increases tied to specific projects passed the House but did not reach a floor vote in the Republican-controlled Senate in 2015.

Lexington Democrat Susan Westrom, co-sponsor of the current bill, tells WUKY it’s an idea whose time has come.

"In the past we used to support so many different things at the local level, which we can't do any more," she says. "So this is a golden opportunity for our communities to progress, though we aren't funding it unfortunately."

Westrom expects the House to send the measure to the Senate again this year, but it’s unclear what kind of reception it might receive. While Gov. Matt Bevin sounded reluctant to endorse the local option on the campaign trail, worrying it could allow the General Assembly to “pass the buck” to local governments, he's also promised not to stand in the way should the legislature choose to act.

Should it emerge from the 2016 General Assembly, the local option would still face another hurdle: a statewide voter referendum for the required constitutional amendment.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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