Muldoon addresses tax reform at Southern Kentucky Chamber Luncheon

Lena Muldoon, Executive Director of You Decide, Kentucky!, was the special guest speaker for October’s Southern Kentucky Chamber Luncheon.

Muldoon, born and raised in Louisville, Ky., took to the podium to highlight her organization’s mission to modernize Kentucky’s tax code and bring decision-making to local communities.

“If there’s one thing that we can agree on – from Louisville, to Paducah, to Corbin - it’s that we have a desire to be the best that we can possibly be,” she said.

Section 181 of Kentucky’s Constitution apparently limits the types of taxes local governments can charge when gathering up property tax revenue and occupational tax.

However, Muldoon informed Chamber members You Decide, Kentucky! focuses on modernizing the state’s constitution so that local citizens and governments can be the ultimate decision-makers on their taxes and invest in their own people instead.

The House of Representatives passed House Bill 475 during the 2022 Regular Session of the General Assembly, which would amend this restrictive section of the state constitution (section 181) and open up the options for local governments to raise revenue through additional measures. YDK! is supporting legislative strategy for the proposal of the constitutional amendment and is working to build a statewide coalition to pass it on the ballot in November 2024.

This is where You Decide, Kentucky! takes over and is working to ensure voters can have a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot.

Their goal is to empower citizens and local government officials to be involved with education, parks, technology, infrastructure, the arts, affordable housing, and sports, to name a few, and YDK wants those to get to the poll and vote for this movement. This will give legislators the power to create the framework for local control.

“Right now, we are simply standing in our own way because decision-making is out of the hands of the people,” Muldoon said. “YDK is dedicated to changing this and we need your support for our statewide educational campaign.” She added, “Let's face the challenge together! By centering you, your community, your business, your voice, we will transform Kentucky together.”

Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus, Co-Chair for YDK, then stepped up for a Q&A session with Muldoon, and she explained she got involved with the coalition because "I got really tired of driving to Frankfort every time the city of Corbin needs something, for instance, the flooding on Master Street." She emphasized she feels it is really frustrating to beg for help.

Razmus added, “We need to go toward a consumption base tax, that way you get to choose where your tax dollars are going.” She said, “This is the opportunity for us, we really should be a tourism state and we should be able to compete with the states around us.”

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Samantha Walden, Staff Writer at The Kentucky Daily

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