Kentucky restaurant industry pushing for more assistance, no new taxes in 2021

Kentucky restaurant industry pushing for more assistance, no new taxes in 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The past year has been a tough one for restaurants, but as the Kentucky legislature gavels in for the 2021 session, some of those in the industry are looking to Frankfort for help.

The Kentucky Restaurant Association said it wants to see more targeted financial assistance from the federal government.

KRA leaders added that they want to see some state-level restrictions lifted, as well as to-go alcoholic beverages permanently allowed, but don’t want to see the passage of a restaurant tax.

As of Wednesday, no bill that would do that had been filed in the Kentucky state legislature this year, but some groups were advocating for it.

The Kentucky League of Cities in its 2021 legislative agenda states cities are in need of new ways to bring in revenue.

The organization, which advocates on behalf of city governments, writes that a restaurant tax could fill that gap, adding they believe it would most impact those from out of town.

Smaller cities can tack on an up to 3 percent tax to restaurant bills if it’s passed in their community. That ability would be expanded to all cities per the proposal.

Stacy Roof, the CEO of KRA, said that approach could be devastating to small businesses.

“Restaurants don’t look to outside entities to pay their bills and to balance their budgets,” Roof said. “That’s always been the standpoint, but right now it’d just be adding another layer of issues on an already suffering and really in survival mode industry.”

Roof said people should refrain from using gift cards received over the holiday if they can for now, instead paying with money at cash-strapped businesses.

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