Cities: constitutional change is needed to make cities more competitive

The question could end up on the ballot next year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Voters in Kentucky could have a chance next year to make a decision that could be the foundation for economic change.

At least that was the message Tuesday from city and county leaders, including Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, president of the Kentucky League of Cities, and economic development experts to state lawmakers.

Local leaders said the state’s constitution needs to be changed to give the legislature the ability to give local governments more revenue options. Of particular interest is the implementation of a local option sales tax that would ease payroll taxes that many say put Kentucky at a disadvantage when trying to lure residents and jobs against states like Tennessee and Indiana. .

And without changing the Constitution, real change cannot happen economically, supporters said.

“The Lexington area, the Nine County region, is at a disadvantage in our local and state tax policies when you compare us to other states. Our lack of flexibility when it comes to local tax policies is really a barrier to competing with these cities for jobs and people, ”Andi Johnson of Commerce Lexington told the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government.

“But without having constitutional change, we can take as many entries as we want, we can take notes, we can sketch things out, but to actually make real transformational change, there is no real potential. other than chipping the edges, ”added State Representative Michael Meredith, a Republican from Oakland.

The legislature will likely be asked in January to put the constitutional change on the November 2022 ballot for voters to decide.

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