Horses vs. Local Aid

The casino bill is fresh out of the gate and a special interest, horse racing, is already the benefactor of millions in free cash. Is the future of the Commonwealth somehow aligned with the salvation of the horse racing industry? With cities and towns crying out for local aid and with Evergreen Solar still in the rear view mirror, is it fair to ask why we give a damn about the horse racing industry? Are there not other industries that once were self sustaining (shoes, leather, etc.) that could use a boost? And why is it that a bill CANNOT pass without special interests getting a slice of the action?

I say let those business’ survive that can do so on their own and stop propping up industries that have no long term future absent state bailouts.

From today’s Globe:

Key to that passage was a last-minute compromise, crafted at the insistence of Patrick, reducing a controversial subsidy to the horse racing industry by an estimated $7.5 million. The bill is still expected to boost the industry by approximately $17 million per year.

Late Monday night, House and Senate negotiators unveiled a final version of the bill, hatched in secret, that surprised nearly everyone who was paying attention. It proposed taking an additional $15 million in gambling profits once designated for cities and towns, and diverting the money to the state’s horse racing industry.

Perhaps the millions used to support the ponies could have been better spent on figuring out how to manage the inevitable traffic disaster that North Shore residents will have to deal with once Suffolk Downs starts construction on what will certainly be a casino.  

About David Whelan