Americans for Tax Reform has received several requests to review the implications of the Boone County Parks Fund ad valorem tax proposal and whether, as Judge-Executive of Boone County, Gary Moore supported a tax hike because the proposal was referred to the 2008 General Election ballot. Moore is currently a candidate for the GOP nomination in KY-04 and a Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer.
In late summer, 2008, the Boone County Fiscal Court passed a resolution proposing a 2.2 cent tax rate on property be referred to the General Election ballot. The objective of the tax rate increase was to raise funds for public parks. To offset the rate increase, and thus make the resolution revenue-neutral, tax rates in several other taxing districts were lowered. The Health Department rolled back their property tax rate from 2.0 to 1.9 cents, the Boone County Public Library Board of Trustees rolled back their tax rate from 6.3 to 5.0 cents, and the Boone County Cooperative Extension District Board lowered their rate from 1.9 to 1.6 cents. The net reduction of these combined taxing districts equaled the 2.2 cent increase put on the ballot in 2008.
While ATR has no opinion on the quality of the proposal, we do believe the proposal was revenue-neutral and not a tax hike. At worst, the decision to raise rates to increase funding for public parks and roll back tax rates for the other districts yielded a revenue-neutral proposal. In reality, the rolling back of tax rates for three other taxing districts actually led to a tax cut, because the Parks Fund ad valorem tax failed at the ballot in 2008.