Officials Looking at Giving Voters a Say in Raising Taxes

Taxes are something the people of Kentucky don't really have much of a say in, but that could change soon.

"Do you believe in democracy? And certainly you do because people have been smart enough to vote all of us into office and hopefully you believe they're smart enough to vote on local options for their community, as well," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Today the interim joint committee on local government met to talk about a local sales tax option that allows communities to decide if they want the city to increase taxes up to one percent for a specific project.

Committee member, Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville says he sees both the pros and the cons.

"I think most of us support the iedea of giving more local control and decentralizing some of the control from both the state level and the federal level. We're at a time that both the federal level and the state level's budgets will not allow for federal and state dollars to be let loose to compensate for the increase in local tax that this would bring," said Meredith.

Oklahoma City was a pioneer of the local sales tax option.

"It has changed everything in Oklahoma City. It has led Oklahoma City to a time of economic prosperity," said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

They established a local sales tax more than 15 years ago and have taken on several new projects including building Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the Oklahoma City Thunder play.

Cornett doesn't see any negatives about a local sales tax.

"I don't think there is any downside. What I like about it is, it lets the citizen determine their level of taxation. So, through passing or not passing sales tax initiatives, it allows the citizens of your city to determine the level of services they expect and want to receive," said Cornett.

Some Kentuckians don't like the idea though.

"I don't think it would pass in any city because people don't like to vote new taxes on themselves," said Linda Kubala, Franklin County.

Whether you like it or not, in Kentucky, it's protected by the constitution.

So for there to be a local sales tax option, it will take a constitutional amendment.

This issue has come up previously in the Kentucky General Assembly, and while no action was taken today, it could come up again in the 2014 session.

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