City Day/City Night at the Capitol

City Day/City Night brought city officials from across Kentucky to the state capital on Wednesday. The KLC Board of Directors kicked off the day with a meeting at the Kentucky History Center, city officials attended legislative meetings throughout the day, and city and state officials returned to the History Center for City Night. The day provided an opportunity to discuss and highlight cities’ unique challenges and concerns.

Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and House Local Government Chairman Randy Bridges (R-Paducah) addressed the Board of Directors. Stivers discussed the need for revenue diversification at the local level.

Legislators began moving the state away from taxing productivity with the passage of House Bill 8 in 2022 and House Bill 1 this session. Stivers stressed that the same shift to more of a consumption-based tax model needs to occur at the local level. “We believe being competitive is creating that type of tax code all the way down through the Kentucky system,” he stated.

Giving city officials the ability to diversify revenue options is a top priority of the Board of Directors. Representative Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) plans to file a measure in the 2024 session that asks voters to amend an antiquated section of the Kentucky Constitution that limits local revenue options. The amendment would allow the legislature to debate measures that shift local governments away from occupational and other productivity-based taxes.

Bridges pointed out that there are a little more than two weeks left of the 2023 session. While he noted that legislators filed dozens of bills, he also stressed that leadership is focused on ensuring all measures are vetted and good policy.

Meredith and KLC Executive Director|CEO James D. Chaney testified before the House Local Government Committee Wednesday morning for House Bill 237. The KLC initiative gives cities with an entertainment destination center (EDC) a way to allow more retailers to participate in events. The committee unanimously passed the measure, sending it to the House of Representatives.

The committee also passed House Bill 52, a KLC-supported bill that adds stress injury to the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for firefighters. The Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously passed KLC-supported Senate Bill 89. Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton testified in support of the measure that gives urban-county governments greater flexibility to rehire retired officers.

Legislators, city officials, and state representatives ended the day with the City Night reception at the Kentucky History Center. The event gives participants an opportunity to network and discuss city issues.