City leaders considering proposal that would pay remote workers to move to Lexington

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington leaders are considering ways to bring more money to the city. Earlier this week they reviewed a proposal that would encourage high-wage remote workers to move to the area.

Brian Raney, one of the business leaders who submitted the idea, said the city could gain millions of dollars in income taxes from remote workers.

“It’s going to benefit all of the current local businesses here in Lexington to have more talent, especially the kind of talent that is maybe lacking in Lexington when it comes to tech talent,” Raney said.

The proposal would cost the city $3.4 million. Remote workers would receive a $10,000 stipend to relocate. Raney said a similar project worked in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where remote workers brought the city $1.4 million last year.

“If we thought people would be here for the next 10 or 15 years that would maybe be a good thing. If they’re only going to be a couple of years and then leave, I’m not sure what the benefit is of that; so, I’m looking at more details,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Gorton said Lexington is doing okay financially even though many businesses have closed due to the pandemic. She and other local leaders, however, noted the ongoing challenges of balancing a city budget.

Council member at large Chuck Ellinger said the remote worker proposal could be beneficial.

“The more revenue that you have obviously means the more you can do for the residents of the community,” Ellinger said.

The proposal would bring up to 200 remote workers to Lexington within two years.

The council made no decisions on moving the prop forward during Tuesday’s meeting.

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