The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association notified its membership of its agenda for the upcoming Kentucky legislative session during a Jan. 23 meeting at the Keeneland sales pavilion.
KTA officials and members of the organization's lobbying firm, Government Strategies, outlined three major issues the industry hopes to tackle during this year's legislative session, which convened Jan. 6. Alternative gaming, restructuring the state's tax laws on the Thoroughbred industry, and a proposed $8.5-million capital works project for Lexington's Livestock Diagnostic Disease Center were discussed, said KTA executive director David Switzer.
"It was more of an educational meeting for our members to hear from our lobbying firm what the government strategies will be," Switzer said.
Two members of the KTA's lobbying firm instructed members what their role would be in helping to gain support for alternative gaming at the state's racetracks. Switzer said KTA members were told to be ready for action on the issue when the time was appropriate.
"They were told how to get involved with the process at the appropriate time," Switzer said. "That could come next week or it could be later in February. You don't want to make any specific commitments prior to legislation being addressed."
KTA members were also told of plans to try and have the Kentucky tax code on the Thoroughbred industry "modernized," Switzer said. A major concern is the 6% tax charged for stud fees, which officials believe could eventually lead stallions to be transferred out of state.
"Our members were appraised that at some point there will be discussions on tax modernization," Switzer said. "We would like to get their input on what the major concerns are if there is going to be a restructuring of the tax system."
Switzer was pleased with the turnout for the meeting, which he estimated to number between 75-100. He added full membership meetings of the KTA would likely be more common in the future.
"Everyone I spoke with was very supportive and appreciative of the meeting," Switzer said. "I think everyone left there with a lot of confidence in the lobbyists we have hired and what they're trying to get done."