For Immediate Release:
October 17, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Syracuse, N.Y. – Thanks to sweetheart deals enacted years ago, the state’s horse racing industry receives a whopping $230 million in casino video lottery terminal profits every year, despite its well-documented drug violations, its abuse of horses and workers, the dire need for education funding, and a recent Marist poll revealing that 83% of state residents would prefer that casino profits be directed to essential public services. So the Coalition to End Horse Racing Subsidies is taking action by posting messages on a fleet of city buses pointing out that such a sum could—and should—be used to hire 2,500 teachers instead.
The Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack, and eight other Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks across the state have been handed nearly $1 billion in just the last four years—and they don’t even have to keep the horses alive to get the cash. Seventy-six horses have died at New York tracks this year alone.
Senate Bill S8485, introduced by Sen. Robert Jackson, and Assembly Bill 8468, introduced by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, would redirect the $230 million in annual subsidies for horse racing to education. Senate Bill S7260, introduced by Sen. Julia Salazar, and Assembly Bill 7745, introduced by Rosenthal, would end the unfair favoritism of sales tax exemptions for racehorses.
“At a moment when our working-class communities so desperately need funding for critical services such as education, human services, and economic justice, subsidizing an industry with a reputation of abusing and neglecting the horses in its care and violating workers’ rights, with $230 million of New York taxpayers’ dollars, is wrongheaded,” says Jackson. “Our legislation will ensure that New York uses the opportunity to invest in services that make us better instead of propping up inhumane practices. It also stops the horse racing industry from shortchanging the public by putting an end to the low return on our investment. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Sen. Julia Salazar, my colleagues, and the growing coalition of advocates to see it become law and end these handouts to an abusive industry.”
“The vast majority of New York state residents agree that it’s not the state’s responsibility to bankroll the horse racing industry,” said Rosenthal, chair of the Assembly Committee on Social Services. “Why should the state hand over $230 million in subsidies each year to an industry that is known for wage theft, animal abuse, and lack of transparency, for starters. Every dollar dedicated to propping up the horse racing industry is a dollar that should be available instead for our schools and our communities. We must pass my legislation to end this corporate welfare and finally invest in those who need it most. The Coalition to End Horse Racing Subsidies is strong and will not be taking no for an answer.”
The Coalition to End Horse Racing Subsidies is composed of education, fiscal policy, human rights and services, food justice, and animal protection organizations, including the Alliance for Quality Education, the Human Services Council, LiveOn NY, New York Communities for Change, the Worker Justice Center of New York, Strong Economy for All, Hip Hop is Green, NYCLASS, PETA, Voters For Animal Rights, Horseracing Wrongs, and the New York State Humane Association.
Please visit EndHorseRacingSubsidies.com for more information. New Yorkers can urge their legislators to support Assembly Bills 8468 and 7745 and Senate Bills S7260 and S8485.