Mae Suramek (D)


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. As a small business owner myself, I support tax exemptions and incentives to make it easier for businesses to give back to the economy by providing jobs and investing in local communities. I do not support sales taxes on professional services.

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, I would.

Sports Wagering and Expanded Gaming

Sports wagering is now legal in 21 states, including in 5 states that border Kentucky. It is expected that 9 more states will allow sports betting in 2021 and 2022. 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?

I absolutely would.

Expanded gaming has been a debated issue for the last decade in Kentucky. It has bipartisan supporters in the legislature and was an issue in the most recent Democratic gubernatorial primary race. Observing how expanded gaming has cannibalized horse industries in other states, KEEP is opposed to expanded casino gaming in order to protect the more than $3 billion economic impact the industry has on Kentucky. In addition to negatively impacting the attendance and wagering at racetracks, expanded gaming would provide direct competition to historical horse racing, which has put Kentucky’s horse industry in an excellent position to continue leading the country in nearly every metric and to expand its economic impact on the state.

Do you support legalizing expanded casino gaming in Kentucky? If so, how do you square that with the inevitable negative effects on our state’s signature industry?

I do, as a source of much-needed revenue that Kentuckians are spending out of state anyway. That being said, I would never want to hurt our signature industry and would want to consider ways to work with the horse industry to prioritize their roles, influence, and leadership in the development of casinos.

Land Use

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 have to be honest, I have not formulated an opinion based on my limited knowledge of this topic. I am willing to dialog more and learn from the horse industry and the points made in this document – that land use and its economic impact is not a one-size-fits-all issue – makes good initial sense to me.

Job Training and Workforce Development

Over the past three 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?

It would make good sense to always include the horse industry in these conversations.

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 11 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?


About the Candidate

Please submit any additional info or comments below. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for the work that you do. If elected I’m committed to listening to, and learning from our state’s most beloved signature industry, and doing all I can to support your efforts, survival, and growth.