In an unexpected turn of events, a proposed constitutional amendment to advance the discussion on local tax reform failed to receive the 60 votes needed to advance to pass the Kentucky House of Representatives on Friday. The final tally was 49 “yes” votes and 17 “no” votes, with 34 members abstaining.
House Bill 475, sponsored by Rep. Michael Meredith, would ask Kentuckians on a statewide ballot if they support giving the Kentucky General Assembly the ability to authorize local governments to assess and collect local taxes, license fees, and franchise fees that are currently prohibited under the state constitution.
The bill attracted 55 co-sponsors, but many of the co-sponsors abstained from voting or voted against the measure. Rep. Steven Rudy, listed as a co-sponsor, originally voted for the bill but changed his vote at the last minute. Rep. Rudy cited a House rule for when a measure before the body fails, which says that a member of the prevailing vote – in this case, those who voted “no” on House Bill 475 – has the ability to bring the bill back up at another time in the Session.
Currently, the constitution is restrictive on the types of taxes local governments can impose.