Efforts are underway in the budget negotiations in Albany to lower or eliminate Governor Cuomo's proposed 2.75% surcharge on purses in the state. However, Tom Precious reports on Bloodhorse.com that the Assembly and the Senate can’t resolve how they want to make up the difference in revenues the plan needs to bring to the budget. That would be $7 million, the amount that the surcharge is expected to generate, ostensibly to fund the Racing and Wagering Board.
The Assembly Democrats, meanwhile, want to lower Cuomo’s proposed purse surcharge [to 0.75%] and replace the lost revenue by imposing a fee on racino operators. The Senate has instead offered what Bonacic called a “general assessment” on all racetracks in the state.And in the 'beating a dead horse' category, Senate Republicans want to revive their plan to revive NYCOTB as a private corporation, albeit one which would still be overseen by the states; fail to satisfy the creditors, and pay less in statutory fees to harness tracks. The scheme mercifully died in committee on March 8, but has reappeared in the budget talks. However, Gary Pretlow, chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, says "We're not doing that." And, as much as many in the industry, tracks and horsemen alike (other than some amongst the harness horsemen) feared an OTB shutdown, I haven't heard any interest whatsoever for it to come back to life in any form.
Precious also writes of a Senate plan to to beef up fan interest in attending races; I don't know any specifics of that. Maybe it's a plan to provide free transportation to the tracks for the folks making over $1 million a year for whom the Senate Republicans insist on lowering income taxes from 2010 rates as teachers and other public employees lose their job.