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Local News

March 10, 2014

Restaurant tax passes first reading

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Several concerned citizens asked the council how pending legislation with the Kentucky League of Cities would affect the tax.

“There’s legislation with the Kentucky League of Cities, they would like it where all cities would be able to do the three percent tax and not just the fourth and fifth class cities that are allowed to now,” said Jim Robinette, a local Dairy Queen owner.  “What they would also like to have is 75 percent that could go towards quality of life enhancements that has nothing to do with tourism.  Only a minimum of 25 percent would have to go to tourism.”

“We’re constantly being asked why we can’t get this, why we can’t get that,” London Mayor Troy Rudder said.  “It’s finances.  There’s an old saying in the tourism industry ‘we’re trying to get heads in beds,’ we’ll we’re trying to get feet on the street.  That costs money folks.  Every cent of this money will be used for tourism or tourism related events.  This is a way for Laurel County to move forward and get people to visit or even stay here.”

Jim Hays added that although he supports the proposed tax for the betterment of the county, if the Kentucky League of Cities’ legislation passes he would never support money designated to be spent solely on tourism going into the city’s general fund.

Councilmember Danny Phelps went on the record to say that he opposed the proposed restaurant tax for many reasons including increasing cost of living expenses, unfunded federal mandates and a mismanagement of funds in the past.

“The gas and utility bills have creeped higher as well as numerous fees and add-ons that are hidden in the monthly statements,” Phelps said.  “None of these are large increases, but when you add them up they amount to a big bite out of the paychecks of working people and folks living on fixed income such as social security or disability whose pay hasn’t kept up.”

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