SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) — A tea party group has ended a petition drive to dissolve a library board that has approved a series of tax increases in recent years.
Barb Sanders, a leader of the anti-tax group in Pulaski County, said in a statement that the petition drive may be unnecessary now that lawmakers are drafting legislation to hold special taxing districts accountable.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Thursday that the measure will be a top priority in a legislative session set to begin in January.
The issue beat out pension reform, tax reform and a proposed constitutional amendment on gambling for the designation of House Bill 1, which is reserved the biggest issues facing the state.
Stumbo said he was shocked by a report from state Auditor Adam Edelen that showed Kentucky has 1,268 taxing districts that collect $1.5 billion in taxes and fees each year, plus $1 billion in government grants and private donations.
Sanders faced intense criticism for questioning the tax hikes instituted by members of a library board that, she complained, isn't accountable to taxpayers.
"The principle is very simple," Sanders said in the statement. "We shouldn't have the possibility of tax increases without the people being able to respond. This campaign has given us the momentum to create a statewide solution on this issue rather than to take them on one at a time."
Critics had warned that the local library might have had to shut down, at least temporarily, if Sanders' petition drive to disband the library board had been successful.
Sanders had told the Commonwealth Journal of Somerset that her group wanted a library board re-established under the purview of the Pulaski County Fiscal Court.
The petition drive had been in response to the library board's property tax hikes between 2009 and 2012.