Kentucky Bills Would Save Horse Breeders, Farmers Money

There's still more than four months until the Kentucky General Assembly meets, but Sen. Damon Thayer has prefiled three bills, two of which are designed to save horse breeders and farmers money.

Earlier this year, Thayer said he would introduce legislation for the 2004 legislative session. One measure would eliminate the 6% sales tax on stallion fees, and another would eliminate the sales tax on feed, fencing, and other supplies and equipment associated with managing a horse farm.

Kentucky's sales tax on stallion fees has been a topic of conversation for years. Other major breeding states such as California, Florida, and New York don't have the tax.

"Right now, we are putting the Kentucky horse industry at a competitive disadvantage, said Thayer, who oversees event marketing for Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. "These other states are offering more incentives to attract stallions, and the mares bred to them. We need to protect Kentucky's leading agribusiness industry, and this bill will help it stay competitive."

In regard to the state sales tax on feed, fencing, and other supplies and equipment, he said: "We rightly don't tax cattle and poultry farmers on these items, so why do we tax horse farmers? We need to ensure that our horse farming industry stays strong. Again, it is an issue of fairness."

A third bill would exempt tobacco farmers from paying state income tax on money earned from a federal quota buyout program. The Kentucky constitution requires all tax and revenue bills to first pass the House of Representatives.

Thayer, along with Rep. Susan Westrom, co-chairs the legislature's new Horse Industry subcommittee. It's scheduled to meet for the second time Aug. 21 in Louisville.