The same old ways just aren't cutting it anymore. There are communities that still have water unsafe to drink. We absolutely have to put more funding into classrooms. We have to fix the pension system for our teachers, first responders, and state employees. And we need to fund our state agencies appropriately in order for them to work the best for our citizens. We must create new new revenue sources without raising taxes on low income and middle-class families to help fund these vital programs (and others) to help Kentucky move forward.
My priorities include:
Cannabis - This measure would generate approximately $300-400 million annually. As many other states have already recognized (15 of them), the legalization of cannabis in the Commonwealth would not only be a giant revenue source, but for farmers and businesses would greatly benefit as well. Although I do not use it myself, I know our state would be better off with it's legalization, and I will always put our state first. Kentucky has some of the most favorable climate and soil conditions for its growth in the country, which would help struggling farmers get back on top. The products would be taxed as farmers sold it to dispensaries, and it would be taxed again as dispensaries sold the products to the public. An additional benefit would be to those seeking it for medical use - helping thousands across the state that struggle with Parkison's, Multiple Sclerosis, certain types of cancer, and certain seizure disorders (just to name a few). Legalizing cannabis would also effectively decriminalize most possession arrest situations and free up courtroom dockets and jail cells.
Film Production Taxes & Fees - This measure would generate approximately $75-150 million annually. Kentucky has one of the highest rates for taxes and fees on film productions in the country. This is why Kentucky based movies like “American Animals“ and TV shows like “The Walking Dead” are filmed in places like South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Two new TV shows premiering this fall are set in Louisville but are filmed in other places. Kentucky needs to reduce their film taxes and fees to be competitive with other states so those dollars will come to our state. In addition, I would suggest undercutting other states film production taxes and fees to bring in even more film production to Kentucky, adding even more revenue.
Expanded Gaming - This measure would generate approximately $375-500 million annually. Kentucky is losing out to our neighboring states who are moving forward with the rest of the country on expanded gaming. We miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Instead of traveling to other states to gamble, those same Kentuckian's could do so right here at home, and the casinos would pay taxes on the revenue generated from food sales, concerts, and hotel stays.