PA Senate Spares Major Racing Cuts in Budget

The industry would lose only $3 million from slots in bill that goes to House.

The Pennsylvania Senate May 10 approved a $27.6 billion state budget that restores almost $70 million that would have been cut from the slot machine-supported Race Horse Development Fund.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett earlier this year proposed using the money to support other agriculture programs in Pennsylvania. His plan was panned by the horse racing industry, which argued such a large reduction would damage the industry and its credibility.

The Senate vote on the fiscal year 2012-13 budget was 39-8. The measure goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“It’s the first real positive step in three or four months here,” said Carl McEntee, director of bloodstock for Northview Stallion Station, which has divisions in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The Corbett plan drew opposition from many stakeholders in the industry, including breeders, owners, and trainers who noted the growth of the Pennsylvania program because of revenue from slots at casinos around the state. In addition, they argued that money already had been taken from the fund to support other programs.

Under the Senate’s spending plan, racing would lose only $3 million instead of $72 million.

According to published reports the budget could be approved by mid-June.