Governor Paterson has engaged in a major shakeup of his staff in an attempt to get his administration, and his re-election hopes, back on track. The Times reported that he has turned largely to veterans of the Clintons’ far-flung network to try to steady the situation.
“These people are battle-tested in national politics,” said George Arzt, a Democratic political consultant in New York. “It’s a team to be reckoned with, for the first time since David took over.”We know that racing has not been a high priority for this administration in the first place, and, as Paul Post reports today in the Thoroughbred Times, this kind of shakeup is not going to help the industry get its attention.
They will add to an already growing Clintonian flavor in Mr. Paterson’s camp. Another Clinton veteran, Harold M. Ickes, the former White House deputy chief of staff, has also been advising Mr. Paterson in recent months.
Post also discusses the proposed changes in the VLT splits at Aqueduct in Paterson's plan for a racino at Belmont.
Under that plan.....horsemen’s and breeders’ revenues from Aqueduct would be cut in half.Paterson's position is, first of all, overly simplistic in its assumption that two racinos necessarily equals twice the revenue. Worse for the industry, if I'm understanding him correctly, the governor is basically fixing the amount of revenue that horsemen "need" in his view. That would be a dangerous precedent, one which would no doubt be applied in the event that racino gaming ever expands to table games. Would he, or his successor, then claim that the percentages could be cut even further because the horsemen don't "need" the extra revenue that such games would presumably generate? And how about Delaware North....why do they "need" the extra money as opposed to the horsemen?
Currently, horsemen and breeders are slated to get 1% and 7% of revenues, respectively, the first year and increasing to 1.5% and 7.5% in year three and beyond. [Actually the other way around.]
Paterson says the groups only need half that amount because a second racino at Belmont would result in twice as much money. Horsemen and breeders disagree, however, saying that competition from a Belmont racino, only eight miles from Aqueduct, might reduce overall gross income.
“These cuts, if enacted, would be devastating to Thoroughbred racing and breeding,” said Edward Bogdan III, managing partner of Albany-based Bogdan, Lasky, Kopley, LLC, a long-time lobbyist for New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. “While we would like to see more VLTs in the state, that proposal is no good for us.” [Thoroughbred Times]