Karen Berg (Democrat)
The Kentucky legislature has created an environment that has allowed the horse industry to thrive in Kentucky. Currently, the thoroughbred racing industry in the state is unparalleled in nearly every metric when compared to other competing states. Contributing to this successful environment is the legislature’s work to create breeder incentive funds and tax policies that support the industry.
Q1: During the most recent legislative session, the legislature preserved the sales tax exemption on the sale of horses under the age of two to out of state buyers. In a similar situation, would you also support preserving that sales tax exemption?
I have been told that the best course of action would be to eliminate this tax entirely. It makes no sense that horses sent out of state are tax exempt while those staying in the Commonwealth are taxed.
Q2: Similarly, the tax exemption on veterinary care for horses was preserved, while it was revoked for some other types of animals. Would you work to preserve that sales tax exemption in the future?
Yes. I do not think any veterinarian services should be taxed.
Q3: Due to a decision made by the legislature several decades ago, there is currently a confusing and burdensome division in sales tax policy on livestock feed and supplies depending on whether a farmer is purchasing for their equines or for other types of livestock. For equines, sales tax is required. For other livestock, the purchase is exempt from sales tax. KEEP has long-called for tax parity for equines, which would be especially beneficial to smaller businesses. Would you support tax parity and extend the sales tax exemption on feed and supplies to all livestock, including equines?
Sports Wagering/Gaming Issues
Another component of Kentucky’s success in the thoroughbred industry has been the role Historic Horse Racing has played in enhancing race purses in Kentucky and attracting the best horses, trainers and jockeys to Kentucky year-round. Historic Horse Racing facilities currently exist at four Kentucky racetracks with one more on the way. With legalized sports wagering or expanded casino gaming there is the potential for the disruption, or growth, of this success.
Q1: Would you support the continued success of Historic Horse Racing, should it become an issue before the legislature?
Q2: Do you support expanded casino gaming? Please select one of the following:
- Support expanded casino gaming at stand-alone facilities.
- Support expanded casino gaming at licensed racetrack facilities.
- Oppose expanded casino gaming.
Expanded gaming is a long overdue revenue source for Kentucky.
Q3: Legalized sports wagering is now a feasible option in Kentucky, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year. Sports wagering offers a new revenue stream for the state with great potential for boosting the horse industry. Do you support legalized sports wagering in Kentucky?
Q4: KEEP recently issued its position paper outlining the four criteria that are critical to legalized sports wagering working in Kentucky and allowing for the horse industry to continue to flourish. Those criteria are: sports wagering should be at racetracks, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission should be the regulatory body overseeing sports wagering, there should be a competitive tax rate to benefit the state while offering a real alternative to the illegal market, and the horse industry should benefit through incentive funds and more. Do you agree with these four criteria?
Jobs/Workforce Development Issues
KEEP has recently undertaken a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation to include the horse industry in a national pilot of the Talent Pipeline Initiative. The program is in its beginning stages, but KEEP sees great potential in what the two-year pilot may uncover about how to fill the needs of the horse industry’s demand for labor.
Q1: As Frankfort considers the importance of job training and workforce development programs, will you commit to including the horse industry in those conversations?
Please feel free to add additional information you would like to share that would be relevant to KEEP’s membership.
Expanded gaming is long overdue in Kentucky and would be helpful to the horse racing industry as well as the general budget. We need this revenue to stay in the Commonwealth instead of going to our neighboring states. I also fully support DACA and understand how important immigrant workers are to our economy. I believe we need clear and defined paths towards citizenship and we need to protect immigrant workers.