House Bill 1 Aiming to Monitor State's Taxing Districts

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

Frankfort is aiming to monitor taxing districts to give taxpayers a sense of what they're paying for.

Kentucky Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo unveiled House Bill 1 today.

Warren county's Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF, is responsible for supporting $150 million in projects like BGMU's new headquarters WKU's Alumni Square, and Bowling Green Ballpark, which supports the TIF with its sales tax.

"They generate approximately a quarter of a million dollars a year in sales tax. Where before there was no revenue being generated, now there's that, and 80 percent of that revenue gets to stay in Bowling Green and be reinvested in the TIF," said Warren County Downtown Economic Development (TIF) Authority Chairman Doug Gorman.

Because of that method of generating revenue, Gorman says the TIF will not be effected by House Bill 1.

"It is taxing districts that have the ability to raise taxes. The TIF does not. We do not have the ability to raise taxes or impose a tax, whereas these taxing districts do," said Gorman.

One organization that will be affected is the Warren County Public Library.

"Ninety-two to 93 percent of our budget comes from the local taxing district," said Warren County Public Library Director, and Kentucky Library Association President Lisa Rice.

The new bill proposes a centralized, searchable registry of each district's spending, and will be accessible to anyone.

"Having a registry or place where citizens know to go and find that information if they're interested, I think is a great idea," said Rice.

Rice says the library already reports spending to the Department for Local Government and the county, and hopes the bill will restore confidence to citizens that most agencies are doing what they are intended to do.

The proposed registry would be administered by the Department for Local Government, and would monitor the $2.7 billion of tax district spending in Kentucky.

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