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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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April 4, 2018


Tanning salons, pet groomers,  janitorial services, vets, auto repair among services to be taxed 6% under GOP budget

FRANKFORT - Veterinarians in Kentucky would charge the state’s 6 percent sales tax when they spay your dog or cat.

Auto repair shops would add the tax to their bill for fixing your car. Taking a suit or dress to the cleaners? Get ready to pay the sales tax for that care and several others.

State lawmakers this week approved a revenue plan that includes adding the state’s sales tax to 17 services that currently are not taxed. They say more money is needed to meet the state’s needs like education and social services.

Businesses that will see the 6 percent sales tax applied to their services for the first time are not too happy with the state legislature’s decision.

“I’m very disappointed that the state budget has been balanced on the backs of small businesses,” Tom Underwood, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said Tuesday in calling upon Gov. Matt Bevin to veto the revenue bill.

“We’re hopeful the General Assembly will take this opportunity to reconsider the small business burden of this tax bill and find a solution to Kentucky’s financial problems that doesn’t crush our Main Street family businesses.”

Businesses will pass along the sales tax to consumers, which could lead to loss of sales, especially for those discretionary services like dry cleaning and pet grooming, said Underwood.

“This is not good,” said Pamela Brown, who has been operating Pam’s Dry Cleaners on Richmond Road in Lexington for almost 40 years.

“I’ve built up good clientele but you can’t blame customers for complaining,” she said. “I just hope they don’t decide to bring in less items to be cleaned because of it.”

Underwood said the tax plan would have been more fair if it had been “across the board with more services included.”

“It looks to me like a picking-and-choosing kind of thing by the legislature,” said Joe Schlich, practice manager for the Nicholasville Road Animal Hospital. “Why just taxing services on small animals? What about horses?”

Lawmakers didn’t provide details on why they selected the services they did.

Kentucky officials have talked about a sales tax on services for decades.

The Kentucky sales tax was enacted in 1960 under Democrat Bert T. Combs as a 3 percent retail tax on a wide range of tangibles. In 1968, the tax was increased to 5 percent under Republican Gov. Louie Nunn and to 6 percent in in 1990, under Democrat Wallace Wilkinson.

In the 1990 Kentucky General Assembly, Wilkinson presented a budget proposal to lawmakers that contained measures increasing taxes on cigarettes and corporations and eliminating sales tax exemptions on legal, engineering, and advertising services. Legislators favored raising the sales tax to 6 percent instead.

In 2017, a blue ribbon commission set up by then-Gov. Steve Beshear proposed broadening the sales tax to “limited” services, including auto repair, certain recreational activities like golf courses and fitness centers and certain commercial and personal services like landscaping and cleaning companies.

Beshear said he tried to avoid taxing “mobile” services such as legal and accounting that easily move their work across the state’s borders.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said this week that Bevin “wanted to increase the sales tax in a more comprehensive plan” and “go further for tax relief on the corporate level” but “there was not the ability to get the votes for that so I believe what we have done is a step in the right direction.”

Bevin, however, said he was concerned that the legislature’s tax changes may not meet “basic standards of fiscal responsibility.”

He has the power to veto legislation but Stivers said the Senate is poised to override a veto.

Lawmakers left the Capitol Monday night and will not return until April 13 and April 14 to consider any gubernatorial vetoes.

The legislature’s revenue measure is designed to raise about $500 million over the next two years. Taxes on services would generate $436 million.

Besides taxing selected services, it increases the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack, which is expected to generate $245 million, and cuts the individual and corporate tax code to a flat 5 percent tax.




*  Landscaping services, including but not limited to: lawn care and maintenance services; tree trimming, pruning, or removal services; landscape design and installation services; landscape care and maintenance services; and snow plowing or removal services.

*  Janitorial services, including but not limited to residential and commercial cleaning services, and carpet, upholstery, and window-cleaning services.

*  Small animal veterinary services, excluding veterinary services for equine, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, flightless birds, buffalo, and hoofed animals like deer.

*  Pet care services, including but not limited to grooming and boarding services, pet-sitting services, and pet obedience training services.

*  Fitness and recreational sports centers.
*  Golf courses and country clubs.
*  Overnight trailer campgrounds.
*  Bowling centers.
*  Industrial laundry services, including but not limited to industrial uniform supply services, protective apparel supply services, and industrial mat and rug supply services.

*  Non-coin-operated laundry and dry cleaning services.
*  Linen supply services, including but not limited to table and bed linen supply services and non-industrial uniform supply services.
*  Indoor skin tanning services, including but not limited to tanning booth or tanning bed services and spray-tanning services.
*  Non-medical diet and weight-reducing services.
*  Labor and services for certain repair, installation and maintenance of personal property, such as cars.
*  Pollution-control facilities.
*  Limousine services, if a driver is provided.
*  Extended warranty services.


By Jack Brammer
Lexington Herald-Leader



April 2, 2018

...asks Democrat candidates nationwide to boycott Sinclair

Democratic Congressional candidate Amy McGrath, a retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel who is running in Kentucky's sixth district, pulled all campaign ads from a local television station owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and is now calling on all Democratic candidates nationwide to do so as well.


McGrath's actions were fueled by the recent revelation that Sinclair forced dozens of local news anchors at its stations to recite a script warning viewers about fake news and accusing other members of the new media of using "their platforms to push their own personal bias," Jacey Fortin and Jonah Engel Bromwich report for The New York Times.

Sinclair, the nation's largest owner of television stations, has been criticized in the past for asking its stations' news directors to donate to its conservative political action committee and forcing local stations to run pro-Trump content.

"Sinclair’s corporate-mandated 'must-read' right-wing script on its nearly 200 television stations about 'fake news' is itself an extreme danger to our Democracy and eerily mimics the propaganda efforts that authoritarian regimes often use to control the media in their own country," McGrath said in a press release. "I call on all Democratic candidates across the country to take a firm stand against this frightening development to our Democracy and refuse to buy advertising time on all Sinclair-owned television stations. Through the power of a boycott, and how we use our supporters' contributions, we can stand up to this threat to our independent media and send a firm message that these actions will not be tolerated in a nation where the freedom of the press is vital."

Written by Heather Chapman Posted at 4/02/2018

March 30, 2018

Here’s how every Kentucky lawmaker voted on the pension bill:



96th District State Rep. Jill York (R-Grayson) who represents Lawrence and Carter Counties in Frankfort csst a "no" vote against Gov. Matt Bevin and the state GOP's pension reform bill last night. but the bill passed the House easily and has been sent to Bevin for his signature. Therre have already been threats of lawsuits against the pension reform on as many as 19 questions of Constitutionality.96th District State Rep. Jill York (R-Grayson) who represents Lawrence and Carter Counties in Frankfort csst a "no" vote against Gov. Matt Bevin and the state GOP's pension reform bill last night. but the bill passed the House easily and has been sent to Bevin for his signature. Therre have already been threats of lawsuits against the pension reform on as many as 19 questions of Constitutionality.Sixteen Republicans split from their majority caucuses in the House and Senate to vote against Senate Bill 151, the scaled-down pension overhaul bill, on Thursday night. Not a single Democrat voted for the bill.

With solid GOP control in both chambers, the bill easily passed by votes of 49 to 46 in the House and 22 to 15 in the Senate.


Republicans voting yes: Danny Bentley, Robert Benvenuti, Kevin Bratcher, John “Bam” Carney, Matt Castlen, Jim DeCesare, Myron Dossett, Jim DuPlessis, Daniel Ellliott, Joseph Fischer, Ken Fleming, Chris Fugate, Jim Gooch, David Hale, Mark Hart, Richard Heath, Toby Herald, Kenny Imes, D.J. Johnson, Brian Linder, Donna Mayfield, Chad McCoy, David Meade, Michael Meredith, Suzanne Miles, Jerry Miller, Robby Mills, Tim Moore, Kimberly Poore Moser, Jason Nemes, David Osborne, Jason Petrie, Phillip Pratt, Melinda Gibbons Prunty, Brandon Reed, Bob Rothenberger, Bart Rowland, Steven Rudy, Sal Santoro, Jonathan Shell, Diane St. Onge, Walker Thomas, James Tipton, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, Russell Webber, Scott Wells and Addia Wuchner.

Republicans voting no: John Blanton, Larry Brown, Tim Couch, Robert Goforth, Regina Huff, Kim King, Phil Moffett, C. Wesley Morgan, Steve Riley, Jim Stewart and Jill York.

Democrats voting yes: None.

Democrats voting no: Rocky Adkins, Linda Belcher, George Brown Jr., Tom Burch, McKenzie Cantrell, Will Coursey, Jeffery Donohue, Kelly Flood, Al Gentry, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Chris Harris, Angie Hatton, Joni Jenkins, James Kay, Dennis Keene, Reginald Meeks, Russ Meyer, Charles Miller, Rick Nelson, Sannie Overly, Darryl Owens, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rick Rand, Jody Richards, Steve Riggs, Dean Schamore, Attica Scott, Arnold Simpson, John Sims Jr., Kevin Sinnette, Wilson Stone, Gerald Watkins, Jim Wayne and Susan Westrom.

Not voting: Lynn Bechler (R), Jeff Hoover (R), Dennis Horlander (D), Stan Lee (R) and Mary Lou Marzian (D).


Republicans voting yes: Ralph Alvarado, Joe Bowen, Jared Carpenter, Danny Carroll, Rick Girdler, David Givens, Ernie Harris, Jimmy Higdon, Paul Hornback, Stan Humphries, Chris McDaniel, Stephen Meredith, Albert Robinson, John Schickel, Wil Schroder, Dan Seum, Robert Stivers, Damon Thayer, Stephen West, Whitney Westerfield, Mike Wilson and Max Wise.

Republicans voting no: Tom Buford, C.B. Embry Jr., Alice Forgy Kerr, Julie Raque Adams and Brandon Smith.

Democrats voting yes: None.

Democrats voting no: Julian Carroll, Denise Harper Angel, Ray Jones, Morgan McGarvey, Gerald Neal, Dennis Parrett, Dorsey Ridley, Reginald Thomas, Johnny Ray Turner and Robin Webb.

Not voting: Perry Clark (D).

By John Cheves
Lexington Herald-Leader