A bill before the New Jersey State Senate would allocate $20 million per year for 5-years out of the state’s general fund to subsidize purses at NJ’s horse racing tracks. That’s a total of $100 million in tax payer dollars. In 2011 Governor Christie ended subsidies for horse racetracks saying they defied “reason and logic”. While the Murphy administration is putting more burden on businesses in New Jersey why is the state bailing out the horse racing industry?
The bill’s co-sponsor Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) said “This will be a huge help for the horse racing industry that is an important part of New Jersey’s heritage and culture and a key source of jobs and economic activity”. The racing industry is responsible for 13,000 in New Jersey.
Until 2011 racetracks in New Jersey received a $17 million per year subsidy from Atlantic City casinos. The subsidies were a deal to prevent slot machines at New Jersey’s racetracks. Many tracks around the country subsidize their revenue with slot machines.
In 2018 New Jersey legalized sports betting at the states casinos and racetracks in hopes of increasing revenues in both industries. The first legal sports bet was placed at Monmouth Park Racetrack. At the time Dennis Drazin of Monmouth Park said that sports betting was “going to save racing”. In less that 6-months bettors have placed $928 million in sports bets in New Jersey. Meadowlands racetrack has taken in $15.2 million and Monmouth Park has taken in $7.5 million. Freehold Raceway does not take sports bets. Despite their new found windfall New Jersey’s racetracks continue to struggle to compete with tracks in other states.
I find the state’s desire to bail out New Jersey’s horse racing industry ironic. We here at the Informed Conservative have been saying for many months that Governor Murphy’s vision for New Jersey – things like increased taxes and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour – will chase the revenue and job creators out of this state. Between November 30th and December 8th we reported on 2,611 upcoming layoffs in New Jersey and anticipate many more. How can the state chase jobs from New Jersey with its unfriendly business climate while using tax payer money to save private businesses?
The state of New Jersey should be focused on retaining businesses in this state and attracting new ones through legislation that encourages economic growth. Instead Murphy continues to put more burden on New Jersey’s business community. Now the legislature wants to bail out the horse racing industry. Governor Murphy’s vision and the Democratic State Legislature’s vision for New Jersey is wrong. To quote Governor Christie subsidies to New Jersey’s horse racing industry defies “reason and logic”
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