Former Maker's Mark president endorses local option sales tax

BY: Chuck Stinnett, The Henderson Gleaner

A local option sales tax could help Henderson finance projects such as a satellite campus for Murray State University or building a convention center, retired Maker’s Mark president Bill Samuels Jr. told an audience here.

Samuels made a pitch for the Kentucky General Assembly to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow local communities to vote for temporary sales tax increases to fund local projects.

“It’s not a tax,” Samuels said during keynote remarks at the Kyndle Small Business of the Year awards breakfast. “It’s a tool for economic development.”

If approved by legislators and voters, he said, a community could impose a sales tax of up to 1 percent to fund a special local project.

“As it’s built and paid for, the tax goes away,” said Samuels, who sits on the board of LIFT Kentucky, which is advocating for the optional tax.

He said he first developed an interest in a local option sales tax while president of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce.

“We were not too happy” as the organization saw that communities that Louisville considered its peers and its competitors — Austin, Indianapolis, Nashville, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City and others — had access to greater resources to make improvements.

“It has nothing to do with Democrats and Republicans,” Samuels said. “It’s about community.”

He commended Kyndle, saying: “I think you all might be the first non-Louisville chamber to endorse” the local option sales tax.

Kyndle would like to thank The Gleaner and Union County First for the use of images throughout this site.