The Whitesburg City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to hear the first reading of a proposed new ordinance that would levy a 1.5 percent tax on all employees working inside the Whitesburg city limits.
The cash-strapped city’s officials voted unanimously at the September meeting of the Whitesburg City Council to institute the tax, which would not affect retirement benefits or entitlements including unemployment and Social Security.
If the city council approves the proposal, Whitesburg will join other county-seat towns such as Pikeville, Hazard and Prestonsburg with taxes on the incomes of workers.
Pikville’s payroll tax is 2 percent, while Hazard’s is 1.25 percent for workers earning less than $60,000 and .5 percent for workers makingmore than $60,000. Prestonsburg’s payroll tax is 1.5 percent.
Most of Kentucky’s larger cities also have payroll taxes. Among them are: Bowling Green (1.85 percent), Covington (2.5 percent), Florence (2 percent), Lexington-Fayette (2.25 percent), Louisville (2.20 percent for residents and 1.45 percent for non-residents), Owensboro (1.33 percent), Paducah (2 percent), and Richmond (2 percent).
Whitesburg council members and Mayor James Wiley Craft say that if the payroll tax were to win approval the city will do away with business and occupational licenses and city auto stickers.