Lawmakers call for new scrutiny of horse racing subsidies

HARRISBURG — The state uses close to $250 million a year in proceeds from casino gambling to prop up the horse racing industry.

With the state struggling to close a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, lawmakers are beginning to question whether the state can still afford to subsidize the sport of kings.

The subsidies date from the 2004 law that legalized casino gambling in Pennsylvania. The horse racing subsidy was included among the handful of programs funded by the gambling tax, though it was largely overshadowed by the creation of property tax rebates.

For every dollar generated for property tax relief by casino gambling, about 33 cents gets set aside for the horse racing fund.

State Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery County, has introduced legislation in the past that would redirect the horse racing subsidies to schools.

The plan attracted interest among rank-and-file lawmakers (click to go to article)