Matt Lockett (Republican)

Tax Policy

Existing tax exemptions are critical to maintaining Kentucky as the place to do business for the horse industry and growing the nearly 80,000 jobs supported by our industry. These exemptions include sales tax on veterinary and pharmaceutical services for equines, the sale of horses to out-of-state buyers and equine boarding services.

Will you continue supporting tax exemptions like these that are proven to have a positive impact on the state?

Yes, these tax exemptions are an important part in preserving our equine industry.

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. In 2017, the Kentucky legislature formally broadened the definition of livestock to include equines.

Would you support tax parity and extend the sales tax exemption on feed and supplies to all livestock, including equines?

Yes. Equine and livestock should have the same tax treatment.

Land Use Policy

In a recent legislative session, legislation was proposed that would allow the state to supersede local governments’ land use ordinances. KEEP believes that land use and its economic impact is not a one-size-fits-all issue and local governments should maintain their ability to make land use policy. In counties like Fayette and Woodford, horse farm land is the lifeblood of the economy. Without local consideration and protections, that economy could evaporate overnight.

What is your position on local land use decision-making, particularly as it applies to the horse industry?

I’m a believer that decisions are best made at the local level. This includes local land use.

Similarly, during the last legislative session, there was an effort to give control over siting for industrial solar facilities to a state commission, rather than local communities. This would also impact Kentucky’s limited horse farm land. Additionally, many of the issues with industrial solar facilities may not be felt until the decommissioning process decades down the road.

What is your position on whether industrial solar siting should be made at the local level?

Again, I believe the decision should be at the local level, coordinated at the state level. The state may provide input and suggestions, but a final decision should be made locally. This insures that the local stakeholders have a voice in land use.

Sports Wagering and Expanded Gaming

Sports wagering is now legal or is pending in all but 14 states, including in 6 states that border Kentucky. KEEP believes that legal sports wagering in Kentucky could have a positive impact on our horse industry, especially with how the legislation was previously drafted in Kentucky to include the industry. Gaming issues like sports wagering may come before the legislature.

Would you be supportive of legalized sports betting that would provide economic investment and jobs in your district?

With every good intention, such as sports wagering, comes a bad side. There are certainly negatives to sports wagering, such as impact on families, local budgets, etc. I have not supported expanded sports wagering in the past because of these issues. The bills presented did not have adequate oversight and did not account for where the profits would be applied. Sports wagering is not a fix all for the equine industry. In fact, in the long run, it may hinder the industry. I certainly would not want to see that.

In 2021, Kentucky saw a proliferation of “skill games” across the state. These slot-like machines are unregulated, not taxed, and pose a threat to the legal, regulated gaming options provided by charitable gaming operators, the Kentucky Lottery, and Kentucky’s horse industry.

Would you support the elimination or regulation of “skill games” in Kentucky?

Yes. These gaming machines, or “gray machines” should be regulated and taxed. They do take revenue from regulated venues, including the lottery and the horse industry.

Job Training and Workforce Development

Over the past four years, KEEP has worked in partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation to create a Talent Pipeline Initiative focused on how to fill the needs of the horse industry’s demand for labor and how to bring more Kentuckians into the industry.

As Frankfort considers the importance of job training and workforce development programs, will you commit to including the horse industry in those conversations?

Absolutely. As one of our premiere industries, the equine industry must be a part of this conversation.

Equine Events

In 2010, the Kentucky Horse Park hosted the World Equestrian Games. This event successfully showcased the “Horse Capital of the World” on the global stage. However, in the 12 years since that event, Kentucky has not bid on hosting other large-scale events.

Would you encourage the state to bid on international events and return a spotlight to the Commonwealth?

Yes, absolutely! We should be bidding for these events every year. We learned many things through the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Those lessons should be used to enhance and improve the experience moving forward. For our region and state’s economy, we should be bidding on other large-scale events.

About the Candidate

Please submit any additional info or comments below. Thank you for your time.

I appreciate the work you put into preserving and protecting the horse industry. It is a vital part of our state’s economy and I’m committed to protecting it and helping it grow in a responsible way.