Today was “Horsemen’s Day at the Capitol” in Austin, Texas, where over 1,000 horse owners, breeders and racetrack employees showed their support for proposed legislation that would authorize slot machines at the 13 licensed horse and greyhound racetracks in the state, and the three Indian reservations, subject to a state referendum in November 2011.
The legislation is supported by Texas HORSE, a coalition that includes the AQHA, APHA, NCHA and all the major Texas horse organizations.
The group held a rally on the south steps of the capitol and then broke into groups which visited the offices of each of the state legislators. Singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett (an avid horseman) spoke to the group and visited the Senators and House members.
NCHA is named in the legislation to administer 20% of a proposed Performance Horse Development Fund. The NCHA’s portion of the revenue is projected to be approximately $1.5 million per year in the first year of slot machines being authorized at racetracks, growing to possibly as much as over $5 million per year to help support NCHA events, programs, and the promotion of cutting.
According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the legislation would generate a projected $500 million for the State of Texas in the next (2012-13) fiscal biennium, (growing to over $1.6 billion to the state in subsequent bienniums)â€¦much needed funding as the State faces a budget shortfall of as much as $27 billion during the next two-year budget period.
Research indicates that 82% of Texans want the right to vote on this issue, and that Texans currently spend more than $2.5 billion annually on slot machines in other states. Furthermore, this legislation would create over 77,000 new jobs for Texans, and through the Performance Horse Development Fund, would have a positive economic impact on the equine agricultural sector in all 254 counties in the state of Texas.
Visit the Texas HORSE website to learn more about the proposed legislation.