City leaders campaign for local sales tax option - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

City leaders campaign for local sales tax option

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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray
Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Beery Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Beery
The Louisville skyline The Louisville skyline

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - It's time to take the decision about how taxpayer dollars are spent out of the hands of politicians and back in the hands of the people of Kentucky. That's the new push by the leaders of the Commonwealth's biggest cities.

Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville, Mayor Jim Gray from Lexington joined with several County Judge-Executives who call themselves Local Investments for Transformation, or LIFT. The group wants a constitutional amendment introduced that would allow Kentucky to fund development and infrastructure projects through a local sales tax option.

Mayor Fischer said one example is the Louisville Loop, a 100-mile bike path around the city that is already under construction and paid for by general funds. Fischer said it's something that could have been paid for through their new plan. "There's just a myriad of public projects that need to be done. The most important thing is that people get to choose what those are."

The group said it's something already being done in 37 other states. "A city could set up a one cent sales tax for three years to build specific projects. The citizens then vote on that proposal yes or no," said Fischer.

Down in the growing city of Elizabethtown, a place Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Beery calls the crossroads of Kentucky, the change could mean offering those traveling on I-65 and the intersecting parkways a reason to stop.

"We are lacking in things that have to do with the arts, the parks system, recreation. Those types of things in our community could be a lot better if we were able to have some way to pay for them."

"It's about freedom. It's about democracy. Who can be against freedom and democracy?" campaigned Mayor Fischer.

Some of the politicians who would present the amendment vote on the amendment already disagree with that, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo. He said there are better options for funding than a local sales tax vote.

Mayor Fischer said the earliest their plan could be up for a vote is November 2014.

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