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January 9, 2014

Council denies control of tax

New tourism committee will decide how to fund itself

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A concerned citizen spoke up during Monday night’s London City Council meeting against a possible three percent restaurant tax that could be levied by the London Tourism and Convention Commission as soon as next month.

Tim Lewis, a factory worker from London, expressed concerns about how a rumored restaurant tax would only hurt the working class of London and Laurel County.

“Most of the jobs around here are factory or call center jobs,” Lewis said.  “Those jobs usually fill their open positions through a temp agency which prevents a lot of us from getting raises or earning full-time work.  Times are tough for a lot of people right now and a new tax is only going to make them tougher.”

Mayor Troy Rudder explained although the City Council will ultimately vote on whether to pass a restaurant tax, the decision to propose the restaurant tax lies with the newly-formed London Tourism and Convention Commission.

“I understand that this council won’t be the ones to propose the tax, but you will vote on it, and let’s be honest, it’s an election year,” Lewis said.  “Making a new tax is not going to be a popular decision with the people.  You all need to be looking at other ways of funding this commission and bringing things that appeal to all the people in our area.”

Rudder again stated that the City Council will not be making the decision regarding how the tourism commission will be funded.

“No tax is ever going to be popular with the people,” Rudder said.  “Kentucky Revised Statute gives us the authority to add a restaurant tax or even a one percent transient room tax.  We on this council have no idea how the tourism commission plans to fund themselves. It’s their decision.”

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