The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced its federal legislative agenda for the 114th Congress, which convened in January, on March 11. Economic issues again dominate the agenda as tax matters re-emerge in the new Congress along with racehorse drug and therapeutic medication regulation and testing, among others.

“As always, we focus on legislation that directly affects our members and their Thoroughbred business activities, including horse racing, breeding and pari-mutuel wagering,” said NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop, who directs the association’s lobbying efforts. “Our agenda each year in Washington generally has two distinct objectives – offense and defense. We attempt to advance matters that can be beneficial to the industry and at the same time monitor and prepare to act on a range of issues that could pose harm to our industry.”

In the last Congress, NTRA secured passage of three critical bills: the standardized, three-year depreciation for racehorses; bonus depreciation that permits taxpayers to depreciate 50% of qualified new depreciable property in the year it is purchased and placed into service (e.g. yearlings and farm equipment); and the expanded Sec. 179 expense allowance pegged at $500,000 with a $2 million threshold for qualified new or used property purchased and placed in service (e.g. broodmares, racing, and stallion prospects). These provisions were extended for one year in 2014 and will be up for renewal in 2015.

In 2015, NTRA’s agenda primarily focuses on several major tax issues that impact the industry’s bottom line. The first is continuation of the unif