Talks continue toward long term fix for Pa. horse, harness racing
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Talks between the Wolf administration and leaders of the General Assembly continued to yield progress this week on how to correct a long-standing structural deficit in the State Racing Fund, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said today.
As a result of that progress and in light of an expected vote on Senate Bill 352 next week by the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Secretary Redding said the administration has decided to defer any decision on the suspension of live racing in Pennsylvania.
Secretary Redding offered the following statement:
“This week’s talks continued to produce positive steps forward. I appreciate the commitment by the chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and legislative leaders to schedule a committee vote in the House on Senate Bill 352. We continue to build on the framework agreement reached last week on that bill. No one is getting everything they want in this bill, but it will give us the long-term financial fix we need to maintain the integrity of this industry and the tools we need to modernize it for the first time in decades.
“We’ll keep working with the General Assembly in the coming days to put the finishing touches on the bill so a long-term solution can be enacted in the very near future. We appreciate the engagement and work of the agriculture committee chairs in both chambers, Senators Vogel and Schwank and state Representatives Causer and Carroll.
“Pennsylvania’s equine industry is an important part of the state’s agriculture sector. Preserving live horse and harness racing is imperative to keep this industry thriving. That was part of the rationale for legalizing gaming and casinos in Pennsylvania in 2004. We’re going to stand behind that commitment.”