PA Horse Conference set to address funding
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In the midst of great uncertainty about the future of the horse racing and breeding industries in Pennsylvania--following Governor Tom Corbett's proposed $72 million cut to the Horse Race Development Fund–members of the Pennsylvania equine community will gather in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania Horse Conference on March 14, 2012 at the Pennsylvania State Museum.
Panelists and presenters will debate these issues and discuss the affects the Pennsylvania equine community has on the local economies as well as to the region. Expert marketers will provide their insights on how to sustain and grow the industry.
One of the main topics of discussion will be the threat of a 30 percent cut to Pennsylvania's horse racing fund, which provides incentives to breeders, supplements racing purses, and provides health benefits to individuals within the racing community, including trainers and stable employees, such as grooms and hotwalkers.
Many individuals and businesses in the racing and breeding communities have invested tens of millions of dollars with the expectation that the fund would be maintained at a certain level.
Under Governor Corbett's proposed budget plan those funds would be transferred to the Department of Agriculture for other purposes. However, some of the "other purposes” do not follow the original intent of Act 71, the PA Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, which restricts activities to "positively assist the Commonwealth's
horse racing industry, support programs intended to foster and promote horse breeding and improve the living and working conditions of personnel who work and reside in and around the stable and backside areas of racetracks.”
The proposal raises many questions: Does such a move require legislation? And, is it breaking a commitment to the industry? What will be the long-term impact of investment in the equine industry if business owners lose faith in the viability and security of the Race Horse Development Fund?
These questions and other concerns of the equineindustry will be hot topics of discussion at the Pennsylvania Horse Conference.
"I've been saying for some time now that we need to get everyone involved in a room and discuss these issues,” said Rep. Dan Moul, a member of the state's House Agriculture committee. "There is so much conflicting information circulating, that I along with other legislators are very confused. I think this conference will help us all come away with a better understanding of the industry.”
The day-long event begins with an Officials' Breakfast for members of the Administration, the legislature and state agencies. Pennsylvania civic leaders, industry stakeholders, elected officials and sports celebrities with an interest in the horse industry will be invited to attend. The Officials' Breakfast and lunch are included as part of the general registration for the conference.
A Morning on the Hill will be one of the options registrants may choose from, which will allow for participants to meet legislators and connect with government officials charged with regulating the equine industry.
The day ends with "Legislators Night” at Penn National racetrack in Grantville, PA. A welcoming reception will be held in the skybox for conference participants.
The Conference runs from 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit the website at: www.pahorseconference.com. Forms for registering, sponsoring, exhibiting and advertising with the conference are also located on the website.