By Greg Bird
Governor Matt Bevin has signed House Bill 114 in to law, potentially boosting economic development for McCreary and 38 other Kentucky counties.
House Bill 144 amended KRS 96.895, a current law dealing with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in lieu of tax payments to counties. As a publically owned utility created by the federal government, the TVA is exempt from taxation, but makes PILT payments to counties within its service area instead.
The bills create a pool of about $6 million that would be divided among 39 counties to be designated for economic development.
The current law stipulates the in lieu of tax payments from the TVA is divided with 70 percent going to the 39 counties serviced by the utility, with the remaining 30 percent assigned to the State’s General Fund. The amendment would further divide the State’s portion by half, creating a special fund that would be disbursed among counties to be used for economic development.
In the first year a pool of $2 million will be divided among the participating counties, with that pool growing to $6 million by 2020.
In order to obtain a share of the funding from the Regional Development Agency Assistance Fund each Fiscal Court would have to designate an agency in the county to receive the payment. The agency must use the funds for economic development and job creation, and can also leverage the money to serve as a local match for federal, state or private matching funds.
If all 39 counties in the TVA service area participate in the fund they could possibly get approximately $150,000 annually from the program when it reaches full funding status in three years.