February 11, 2021 10:22am
FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO: 2/11/21
With the 2021 General Assembly underway, GLI has hit the ground running and is advocating for a number of policy priorities that are important to our region’s business community. As identified in our 2021 State Legislative Agenda, GLI’s priorities are focused on several areas including: COVID Relief and support, advancing racial equity, and advocating for long-term business priorities. Last week, I wrote an op-ed urging our legislators to take bold actions to put our state on the trajectory towards a brighter future. The type of change we want to see in our region will not happen overnight, but now is the time to lay the groundwork for what we want to see in the years to come.
First and foremost, additional COVID relief is imperative so that businesses have every opportunity to rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic. Currently, state law prohibits businesses from deducting from their overall tax burden business expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans. GLI is advocating for a correction to this problem by allowing businesses to deduct expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans. In addition, legal liability protections for businesses in the wake of the pandemic are essential to prevent litigation from slowing economic recovery.
GLI is continuing to prioritize inclusion and work towards racial equity through our Business Council to End Racism. The Council has identified several bold pieces of legislation as important starting points on our region’s journey towards equity. House Bill 25 will expand eligibility for the Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) to Kentuckians with felony records. The criminal justice system has had a disproportionate impact on members of our Black community, which has previously put many at a disadvantage in accessing affordable higher education and career opportunities. In addition to this legislation, GLI is also supportive of House Bill 126 which will raise the threshold for felony theft. This will ensure more members of our community are able to be contributing members of the workforce and access high-paying jobs.
While much of our focus is on repairing the damage that occurred in 2020, we are not losing sight of our long-term priorities like reforming the state’s pension systems, increasing access to high quality education, advocating for a major infrastructure funding package, and authorizing sports wagering. In addition to these priorities, we are also advocating for key budget priorities as legislators work to create a unique single-year budget, including funding to support and stabilize our childcare sector and pay down Kentucky’s unemployment insurance debt to provide relief for employers.
With only a few weeks remaining in the 2021 legislative session, there is a lot to accomplish. However, you are our most powerful advocate. We will continue calling on you to share your voice with legislators to make sure they know where the Greater Louisville business community stands on these important issues.