Schroder sees his return to Frankfort as continuing the growth of Kentucky
“Everything that comes across the desk, so to speak, affects the district,” Wil Schroder, Kentucky Senator for the 24th District said about the varied district he represents and seeks to continue serving. The district includes Campbell, Bracken and Pendleton counties, and those counties ask the senator to study rural and urban issues.
The Northern Kentucky native is a graduate of law school at Northern Kentucky University. He is following the path his father blazed, using his love of the law to serve Kentucky.
His dad, Wil Schroder, served as a state judge before he was elected as a Kentucky Supreme Court justice. His mother was a teacher in both public and private schools.
“I have been around public service [because of my dad],” Schroder said.
He is partaking in public service during a time in which the tone has been very toxic.
“We have a lot in common. We all like UK basketball or whatever, but on social media, things get amped up to a whole new level,” he said about what is contributing to the negativity of today’s political scene.
“We have to be careful with our rhetoric and think about our kids and how that comes across,” he continued.
As far as changing it, he said, “I think it starts with the leadership. We have to be willing to listen to people even though we might not agree with them. We have to show that we’re open to having conversations with people and have people at the table.
“It was a difficult session because we’re trying to deal with policy and super-important issues, but then you have the rhetoric from both sides. The governor is saying something just off the wall. How are they going to even hear what I am saying about the policy?” he commented about the tone of the last General Assembly.
“With my dad having been on the Supreme Court, I respect the separation of powers. I respect the court. If they come back and say that law is void, it’s back to the drawing board this next session,” Schroder said about the looming Ky. Supreme Court decision on the pension reform bill.
“The process was messy. There’s no doubt about it,” he pointed out. “Regardless of what the court says, we can do better as far as time management and having bill readings under the titles they were given.”
He went on to explain that the committee substitution process had been used for years, including a committee substitution for stronger heroin penalties under Governor Steve Breshear.
He mentioned one of the biggest decisions regarding the pension reform bill was that the circuit judge said it was a revenue bill because of the appropriations of future hires. If that is upheld, it would give the governor, whether a Democrat or Republican, a line-item veto, a tool they have never held.
When Governor Matt Bevin released his budget and transportation was cut, Schroder identified this as a problem.
“While it might not be a problem in Ft. Thomas, it is a problem here in Pendleton County. You have to educate yourself on the issue. The governor was saying they have extra funds over here, but the school districts were telling me they didn’t.” Schroder pointed out that he was in conversations with the school systems within his district. With all of the independents in Campbell County, the 24th District Senator seat has more school districts than any other senator.
Whether it was Jay Brewer at Dayton or former Pendleton County Superintendent Dr. Anthony Strong, he knew he could always contact someone, and they would give feedback and say, “Well, here’s how that really plays every day in school.”
“The SEEK funding is the highest it has ever been.” He concedes, “Of course, it’s not high enough. We’d like it to be higher, too, but that’s the budget. It’s a pie and that’s a piece of it. If you want a bigger slice here, like transportation, then another slice is going to be smaller.
He offered a solution, “to grow the pie, grow revenue ,and that’s what we have been trying to do in attracting businesses.”
School safety is an education topic he expects to be discussed in the 2019 session. “There’s a committee that’s meeting as a special joint committee talking about school safety. What can we do? That’s going to be an ongoing discussion,” .
State government revenue
In order to increase revenue, he believes the state can find ways to attract more jobs. “My philosophy is we attract businesses to Commonwealth of Kentucky. Those businesses lead to more jobs, and those jobs lead to more people working, more people on the payroll that are paying taxes and growing the General Fund of the state.”
This economic model proved itself in 2017. In that year, new businesses invested $9.2 billion into Kentucky, a record for new business investment.
“We are in constant competition with other states, and, at this point, we are in competition with China and other countries. How are we going to make sure that businesses are welcomed here with a good environment without giving away the farm?” he said about taxing out-of-state corporations.
Schroder pointed out that sales tax receipts nationwide on goods have declined, and the last time this state had tax reform was before this 36-year-old was born.
“I ran in 2014 with the thought that we need to have this conversation. Before the next step, we need to look at how what we did is working,” he added.
The Republican legislature, while adding service taxes on 17 services, did also lower the income tax rate for most to five percent.
“Everyone agrees we need more revenue; no one agrees on how we go about doing it,” he stated.
As far as gaming and medical marijuana as revenue sources, he was willing to set the morality issue aside and just look at the revenue side.
He said to look at other states that have tried casino gaming. That gaming did not have the impact on general fund. “On average it’s about 2 to 2-1/2 percent,” he said. He added that officials in Hamilton County indicate the projections are nowhere near what they were told.
As far as medical marijuana, he made the point, “We don’t tax any other medicine in Kentucky. If its a vaild medicine for a cancer patient, is it fair to tax that medicine?”
He added that he is open-minded to listening to medical community in Kentucky on whether it is a viable medicine, but he would like to see the federal government remove is from the Schedule 1 drug listing.
Right-to-work and Charter Schools
“As we talked to different companies about their reasons for site selections in other states, right-to-work was a big part of their decision. They were not even considering Kentucky because of it,” he explained. He added that unions have played an important and historical role.
He questioned, “Should and individual be forced to join the union because of the job? At the end of the day, I think it was a fair bill, and we saw economic development really take off after that.”
“I was one of only four Republicans in the Senate who voted against that charter school bill,” Schroder said. “A lot of people have forgotten that I had voted against that bill. It really did not meet anyone’s needs.”
One bill that he sponsored, and you can see he is very proud of getting bipartisan support involved, increases the savings that parents can accrue for special needs kids.
Appointed to a bipartisan task force in 2015, Schroder explained they came up with a bill that increased the penalties for out-of-state drug traffickers and prescription requirements from doctors. It also allowed anyone to get a Narcan dosage in case of an overdose of a loved one.
“We’ve been reactive. How are we going to be proactive?” he asked about the reasons to talk with physicians about their prescription amount of pills.
2019 General Session
“One of the things that happened while we were doing tax reform was that the Ky. Supreme Court had a ruling that impacted nonprofit taxes.” He explained that non-profits were exempt from taxes, but the Ky Supreme Court ruling changed that.
“People think that was our part of the bill, but it wasn’t. It was a different interpretation and ruling from the Ky. Supreme Court,” he said. He explained that the Republican Legislature leadership is committed to change it.
The outcome of the other Supreme Court case will also drive the agenda.
In asking voters to consider him, Schroder noted his hard work and willingness to make tough decisions that were best for the residents of his district. He also mentions that he is the Pro-Life candidate, and he received an “A” rating from NRA.
The complete video interview of Wil Schroder is available at www.falmouthoutlook.com as well as a growing list of video interviews with candidates in November 6 General Election.