Friday, February 4, 2011

Racing Surcharge Quacks like a Tax

"If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then in New York it's probably a tax," said Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, regarding a racing purse surcharge that was proposed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget on Monday.
Downplayed as a fee by the governor, Tedisco took serious umbrage with the surcharge, which he characterized as a tax.
He said that the state should be encouraging people to get involved in racing at this point, while this fee will have the opposite effect.
The surcharge in question is a 2.75 percent surcharge on purses for all horse races conducted within the state. The money is designed to eliminate the deficit being run by the Regulation of Racing account. The idea of the proposal is that that account, which is part of the Racing Board, will now be funded by the racing industry and not taxpayers. The fee is designed to generate $7.6 million in the upcoming fiscal year and $8.5 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
This proposal in the budget was roundly rejected by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, who characterized the charge as a slap in the face and counter to the governor's pledge not to raise taxes.
"Regardless of how you dress this up, this is an almost 3% tax on New York horsemen," said Richard Violette, president of the horsemen.
Tedisco concluded, "That's a tax and there's no way around it." His spokesman noted that this decision is in addition to the state again withholding VLT funding for the area.

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