A million private businesses in New York survive without handouts from the state, but as part of a sweetheart deal enacted years ago to bail out the failing horse racing industry, $230 million in casino profits goes straight into the coffers of privately owned Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing companies—every single year. Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack, and eight other tracks have been handed nearly $1 billion total in just the last four years. And they don’t even have to keep the horses alive to get the cash.
New York Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal, Sen. Robert Jackson, and Sen. Julia Salazar are challenging this corporate welfare.
Rosenthal has introduced Assembly Bill A1162, and Jackson has introduced Senate Bill S5438—which would cancel $230 million in annual subsidies to racehorse owners, breeders, and trainers and to New York Racing Association track operating expenses and capital improvements.
“It’s time we put an end to multimillion dollar taxpayer-funded subsidies that prop up a dying industry,” said Rosenthal. “The industry pockets the money to enhance purses and often abuses and neglects the horses in its care, while workers toil at low-wage jobs. We must stop subsidizing this cruel business and instead reinvest the funds where they’re needed most—in public education, our human services sector, community redevelopment, and wage theft prevention. My legislation is a statement of New York’s evolving values, and I look forward to working with the diverse and growing coalition of advocates to see it become law.”
Rosenthal has also introduced Assembly Bill A1438, and Salazar has introduced Senate Bill S00481. These would repeal or amend current laws to create a gaming revenue fund that would be disbursed to education, the state’s general fund, New York State Department of Labor workforce protection, agricultural grants, funding for horse care and the adoption of horses, and economic development in communities where horse racing occurs.
If you live in New York state, please take action: Ask your representatives to support these important bills!