Kentucky Association of Counties

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The Kentucky Association of Counties

Past Sessions


 

2021 Legislative Priorities

KACo's 2021 legislative priorities include transportation funding, broadband access and affordability, jail relief and more.

Download a copy of KACo’s 2021 Legislative Priorities HERE.

KACo's 2021 legislative priorities were released at the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government on Nov. 17, 2020 and includes solutions and approaches to the most serious issues facing counties.

1. Invest in transportation infrastructure 

The number one legislative issue in 2021 is transportation funding. In a recent poll of KACo officials, a third indicated that more than 40 percent of their county roads were in moderate to significant need of repair.

In the KACo poll, 91 percent agreed that the gas tax needs to be raised, with four out ten supporting at least a 10 cent increase.

KACo supports the following:

  • Increase the gas tax and other transportation-related fees; establish fees for electric vehicles.
  • Preserve the agreed-upon formula for distribution of funding to counties and cities.

2. Broadband access and affordability

Broadband access is essential to community and economic development. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools and business transitioned to a virtual format, a lack of access to broadband service became even more important. 

KACo supports the following:

  • Collaborate to find solutions to limited access to broadband.
  • Lower regulatory barriers to expanded broadband access.

3. Jail Relief

From 2011 to 2019, the total population in Kentucky grew by about two percent. Over the same period, county jail populations grew by more than 30 percent, having a significant impact on county budgets. Almost half of county officials in the KACo poll said that jail costs are the biggest pressure on their budgets. 

KACo supports the following:

  • Pursue positive criminal justice reform.
  • Expand access to substance abuse treatment.
  • Increase the state per diem rate.
  • Preserve the state appropriation to closed jails.

4. Opportunities to streamline and collaborate

KACo supports the following:

  • Transition Sheriff's budget from calendar year to the county fiscal year.
  • Develop foreclosure options for abandoned/blighted property. 

5. County revenue flexibility

KACo supports the following:

  • Allow countywide sales tax authority.
  • Support countywide revenue options and collection.

 


 

2020 Legislative Priorities

Download a copy of KACo’s 2020 Legislative Priorities HERE.

Transportation Funding

The number one legislative issue in 2020 is transportation funding. In a recent poll of KACo officials, a majority indicated that more than 40 percent of their county roads were in need of repair and one-quarter said that more than 60 percent of their roads needed repair.

“Our top priority is transportation funding, and it’s one of yours as well,” Boone County Judge/Executive and KACo President Gary Moore told committee members. “The needs of the state are well documented. We have made great strides in our economic development efforts, and we know how vital good roads are to job creation. But the bottom line is, we all need more money for roads.”

In the KACo poll, 93 percent agreed that the gas tax needs to be raised, with nearly half supporting at least a 10 cent increase.

KACo supports:

  • Increase the gas tax and other transportation-related fees; establish fees for electric vehicles.
  • Preserve the agreed-upon formula for distribution of funding to counties and cities.

Jail Relief

The next priority for counties is jail relief. County jails are overcrowded and the costs of incarceration have continued to climb. A majority of members in the KACo poll said that jail costs are driving budget pressures. Counties want to be part of the solution.

“This jail crisis across Kentucky is no secret,” Madison County Judge/Executive and KACo President-elect Reagan Taylor told committee members. “It’s something every county faces whether they operate their own jail or partner with neighboring counties to house their inmates. At the end of the day, each county is financially responsible for their own incarcerated population.”

KACo supports:

  • Increase the state per diem rate.
  • Pursue criminal justice reform.
  • Broaden and fund substance abuse treatment.
  • Reimburse credit for time served.

Tax Reform

The final priority for KACo in 2020 is tax reform. Counties are being asked to do more with less. Limitations on revenue options coupled with ever increasing demands for services put county leaders in an impossible situation.

“We hear that our tax system at the state level is antiquated and makes us less competitive with the states around us,” Moore said. “Each time revenue options for local governments are explored, we are told to wait for comprehensive tax reform. If that happens, we ask for a seat at the table.

“Currently, when it comes to revenue options, our hands are tied,” Moore added. “We are just asking that you give us the right tools in our toolbox to build a better model to meet the needs of our communities.”

In the KACo poll, 62 percent said they would be somewhat or very likely to levy a local sales tax in their county while 38 percent indicated they were somewhat or very unlikely to support such a tax.

KACo supports:

  • Allow county sales tax authority.
  • Allow counties to levy a restaurant tax.
  • Increase optional fiscal court control over special purpose governmental entities.

 

 

2019 Regular Session

 

Kentucky Tax Changes Passed in the 2019 Regular Session-Department of Revenue

2019 County Legislative Priorities

List of Bills Reviewed

Transportation Funding Bill Summary

Transportation Funding Bill - Revised

 

2017 Regular Session

 

2017 County Priority Legislative Issues

2017 SB226 Gov. Bevin-Sen. Bowen Press Conference

Bills Reviewed

 

Kentucky Association of Counties
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