Kentucky House Bill 1, acronym LIFT (Local Investments for Transformation), passed the House on February 12, 2015. The bill would allow local governments to pass 1% sales taxes for specific projects if approved by voters. LIFT had bipartisan support in the House.
Thirty seven other states allow local option sales taxes. Kentucky does not. Information distributed by supporters tout the measure as a job creator and an investment. One county judge called it "the purest form of democracy".
The sales tax would expire when the objective is achieved. Local municipalities can opt out of the county tax - but there are negative consequences to doing so. Inability to access the program for up to five years can result from an opt out.
The bill which sailed virtually unscathed through the House may not have such a clear path through the Senate. It has run into opposition from big energy users. While residential energy bills are exempt, industrial power bills are not.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo hasn't given up hope for LIFT. He said that there can be exemptions for big power users.
With the short General Assembly session at a halfway point, negotiations to come up with a bill acceptable to the GOP controlled Senate will have to move along briskly.
UPDATE: The bill went to the Senate State Government Committee on February 19, 2015. House floor amendments eliminated prevailing wage provisions for local projects if LIFT becomes law.