The Kentucky Chamber not only advocates on behalf of business at the state level, but also in the nation’s capital where congressional and executive-branch decisions have a direct impact on you and your business. Free enterprise creates jobs, opportunity and a successful business climate. The Kentucky Chamber advocates for federal policies that will result in economic growth, fewer government regulations and encourage policymakers to expand – not limit – job growth and economic opportunity through the decisions they make.
Continue the Progress of Pro-Growth Tax Reform
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was a watershed moment in Kentucky’s economic history. Between 2018 and the start of the pandemic, Kentucky’s economy added nearly 40,000 new jobs. Throughout the recovery from COVID-19, Kentucky saw unprecedented levels of job growth, with $11.2 billion in economic investments in 2021 and $10.5 billion in 2022. But the policy dynamics that facilitated this growth are changing, as key provisions of TCJA expire and policymakers implement anti-growth initiatives. Kentucky’s business community encourages Congress to make permanent the strongest pro-growth provisions of TCJA - such as, for example, 100 percent bonus depreciation of capital assets - and repeal or mitigate harmful new taxes included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Increase Access to Childcare to Support Workforce Participation
Workforce participation has been declining in the United States for the past two decades, making it harder and harder for employers to find qualified workers. These challenges have been even more difficult in Kentucky, where workforce participation trails the national average by 4 percentage points. Congress can help address declining workforce participation by increasing public investment in child care. Too many Kentucky families are unable to work because of a lack of available child care or because they can’t afford it. Congress should prioritize a robust reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant and improve federal tax incentive programs such as the Employer-Provided Child Care Credit.
Build a Stronger Workforce Through Immigration Reform
As population growth in the United States slows and as Americans get older, high-skilled immigrants will become an increasingly critical part of the future of our workforce. In Kentucky, policymakers are working to build a strong economic climate through tax reform and education investments that will help grow our workforce, but Congress must take action to ensure Kentucky employers have full access to a global talent pool. Specific actions should include fixing America’s broken worker visa program, increasing the allotment of employment-based green cards, and providing legal certainty for DACA recipients and long-term beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status program. Congress should pursue these priorities while simultaneously working to secure the border.
End Regulatory Uncertainty by Passing Pro-Business Environmental and Labor Laws
The past twenty years have shown that with each new administration comes a reversal of the previous administration’s actions on major environmental and labor issues. Whether it’s related to energy and water or joint-employer and independent contractors, employers routinely experience regulatory whiplash, which leads to higher costs and makes long-term business decisions more difficult and precarious. More recently, businesses are experiencing significant threats from regulatory overreach, as agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and others seek to impose new employer mandates. Congress should work collaboratively with the business community and other stakeholders to pass legislative solutions to these major issues that keep costs low for employers, provide clarity and certainty, and support job growth, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.
Long-term Infrastructure Investment, Permitting Reform, and Critical Infrastructure
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will benefit Kentucky’s economy for years to come. As a result of this legislation, Kentucky finally secured funding for the companion bridge to the Brent Spence Bridge and is expected to receive critical funds for other major projects as well. Congress and federal agencies should capitalize on this momentum by reforming permitting processes to streamline projects, safeguarding critical infrastructure from cybersecurity and other threats, and building the foundation for long-term and sustainable infrastructure funding.