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Tom McClay, a horse breeder in Pennsylvania, said that he has invested around $3 million in the state in the span of two years because it is one of the places with some of the best breeder incentives and purses in the racehorse industry.
At present, however, he says that he is moving elsewhere.
Since Gov. Tom Corbett suggested in his proposed budget that siphoning some $72 million from the Race Horse Development Fund, on top of nearly $47 million taken by the state in the last two years, McClay said the racehorse industry will be dead. He said, “ They’ve effectively killed it. You have to run horse racing as a business, and they just dropped the incentives by 25 percent. I’m not an idiot. I know they’ll be back next year, and the year after that.”
The budget made by Corbett proposes taking around $72 million from the racehorse fund and channeling it to other agricultural programs, which include veterinarian activities of the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn State agricultural research, and county fairs. A deal in 2009 earned the state around $47 million annually from the racehorse fund, which it then sent to the general revenue fund.
State Department of Agriculture press secretary Samantha Krepps said the money that was taken from the horse racing fund is being utilized to pay for other government programs that are “very important to agriculture.”
Krepps said, “Research can develop cutting edge products that help feed people, provide jobs and help the economy. There’s still more than $130 million left for horses in the fund, and the levels are supposed to come back by 2013-14.”
She also said that the proposal required legislation to pass. This means taking the $72 million at this point in time is not yet legal.