|Press Release: Texas Horsemen's Partnership Statement Regarding Deal Reached to Fund Texas Racing Commission for Three Months
(Austin, Texas - September 2, 2015) - The Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, LLP would like to thank Chairman Otto and the other House members who serve on Texas' Legislative Budget Board for working to secure full funding for the Texas Racing Commission. However, the announcement of a three month funding plan from Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick yesterday requires a response from our organization.
Marsha Rountree, executive director of Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, commented, “We are terribly disappointed to hear the announcement from the Lt. Governor this afternoon, stating that he has worked out an agreement with Chairman Otto allowing for three months of administrative funding for the Texas Racing Commission. We have not seen the agreement and hope that there is still time to change the terms of the agreement and fully fund the Commission.
"Unfortunately, for Texas horsemen and racing fans, the three-month funding agreement might be the closing curtain for racing in our state.
"On Monday, August 31, Texas Racing Commission Executive Director Chuck Trout sent a letter to the Legislative Budget Board requesting only three months administrative funding 'to allow the agency to wind down operations in an orderly fashion that would be greatly beneficial to our employees, licensees, the entire pari-mutuel racing industry and the state of Texas as a whole. Mr. Trout requested three months of funding to close the Texas Racing Commission, and the Legislative Budget Board has announced that they are giving him exactly that.
"If the Legislative Budget Board follows through on a temporary, three-month funding agreement, there is no reason for horsemen to remain in the state. Three months clearly provides no certainty for hard working horsemen.
"The racing industry needs to be able to see far enough into the future to make plans based on realistic expectations. The message that the Texas Racing Commission is only funded for three short months gives the horsemen of Texas absolutely no confidence in the future of racing here. Thousands of jobs could disappear as horses are moved to other racing states with more certain futures.
"The horsemen of Texas request full funding of the Texas Racing Commission and that there be a full meeting of the Legislative Budget Board to conduct a recorded vote on the funding of the Texas Racing Commission. The men and women who work in this sector of agri-business deserve to have a vote on their future, held in the light of day.”