A bill to modernize Kentucky’s restaurant tax has been introduced in the Kentucky Senate. Senate Bill 166, sponsored by Senator Jared Carpenter (R-Berea), will eliminate the current tax restaurant owners pay on their gross receipts or net profits if cities elect to tax the purchasing of food by customers.
“This is a great help to both restaurants and cities across the Commonwealth,” said Jonathan Steiner, executive director/CEO of the Kentucky League of Cities. “Switching to a consumption-based model rather than taxing productivity is fairer and more efficient. This puts money back into the pockets of the people who own the local restaurant while also allowing reinvestment in the community.”
Under current law, in those smaller cities authorized to enact the tax, the proceeds are turned over to non-elected tourism commissions for promotion of tourist activities. “This bill makes every city eligible for the restaurant tax and allows the city to use the money to build, operate and maintain infrastructure for tourism, recreation and economic development purposes that will in fact attract more visitors to their cities and create more jobs and opportunities,” said Roddy Harrison, KLC President and Mayor of Williamsburg.
The tax is limited to a maximum of 3%: meaning a $10 lunch check would generate a .30 cent tax. It is optional for cities and is a local choice.
“Kentucky also borders seven states and is within an easy day’s drive of major urban centers,” said Harrison. “Kentucky receives many visitors who enjoy our natural resources, our Bourbon Trail, our horse racing and more. It makes sense for those visitors to help us sustain and improve our tourism and recreational infrastructure.”