Tribune-Courier General Manager
State Rep. Wilson Stone of Scottsville announced last week his intent to file BR 138 when the Kentucky legislature reconvenes in January. Stone’s bill would redirect half of the state’s general fund share of TVA in-lieu-of tax payments back to Kentucky’s 36 TVA counties by fiscal year 2019 for the purpose of local economic development and job creation.
“TVA communities have an unemployment rate that is historically one percent higher than the state average,” Stone, D-Scottsville, said during a press conference last week in Frankfort. “The legislation would help these communities better compete in the struggle to bring in jobs.”
Josh Tubbs, Director for Economic Development in Marshall County, said the funding would assist the county in pursuing an industrial park and infrastructure essential to economic development.
“It would allow us to begin designating funds, through the nonprofit group, Opportunity Marshall, Inc. for those specific purposes without hindering the budgets of the local city and county governments,” said Tubbs.
Tubbs and other county leaders have previously indicated the need for shovel-ready industrial sites that are publicly owned in Marshall County.
“It would allow us an incentive to prospective industries that we cannot provide at this time. Consistently, workforce, electrical capacity, geography, transportation and utilities all play a major role in site selection. It is all a wash if you don’t have real estate to put them in and a structured incentive package to entice them,” said Tubbs.
Stone’s bill would work by transferring a portion of TVA in-lieu-of tax payments from the state’s general fund for equal distribution among TVA counties or regional economic development agencies over the next five years. By fiscal year 2019, 50 percent of the state’s general fund share of the TVA payments would be transferred to the counties.
In far western Kentucky Marshall, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Trigg and Lyon counties would be included in the payments.
“The resolution will allow TVA communities to say, yes, we want to bring 10s to 100s of thousands of dollars home to grow jobs and our economy,” said Stone.
“This would be a major piece of legislation for the future of economic development in Marshall County,” said Tubbs. “It would be the beginning of significant progress in our community as we strive to attract quality companies that create jobs.”
In fiscal year 2012, TVA paid $46.7 million in-lieu-of taxes to Kentucky based on power sales and power property values in the state.