Last year, Auditor Adam Edelen launched an initiative to make Kentucky’s special taxing districts more transparent. This was a move that the Bluegrass Institute was supportive of. Transparency, after all, is the first step toward accountability.
This initiative led to HB 1 in the 2013 General Assembly – a bill that would require an online registry of financial information that special taxing districts would submit budgets and spending data to. Essentially this legislation forced these entities into transparency.
HB 1 met resistance though in the Senate by those who said the bill didn’t go far enough. A series of amendments ultimately watered the bill down.
These amendments create a problem though. In effect, they create an issue where there should not be one. The amendments deal more with the financial execution of the special taxing districts rather than transparency. The original intention of HB 1 was to serve as a starting point for establishing transparency and accountability to a segment of state government that previously operated outside the view of the Kentucky taxpayer.
Is the bill perfect? Does it fix EVERY problem with the state’s special taxing districts? No, it does not and that is not its intention.