Ruby Laffoon (1869-1941) served
as governor of Kentucky (1931-1935) during one of the commonwealth’s worst
economic periods. The Great Depression had dealt a heavy blow to the state’s
already shaky finances. Governor Laffoon wanted to raise revenues by passing a
sales tax. The politically predominate Democratic Party split over the tax issue
and the measure was defeated. However, Laffoon did not give up his idea of
adding another tax to increase revenues, and a 3% sales tax eventually passed
the Kentucky Senate.
Laffoon’s sales tax did not gain
popularity and Albert B. "Happy" Chandler became an outspoken critic of Laffoon.
Chandler used the sales tax as a springboard for his successful bid for governor