Concerned Citizens for Saratoga Racing Rejects Cuomo’s NYRA Re-Privatization Plan

by | 05.24.2016 | 1:02pm

The Concerned Citizens for Saratoga Racing rejects a re-privatization plan now being circulated by Governor Cuomo that seeks to retain public control of NYRA and to unilaterally transfer funds legally designated for our state's Thoroughbred racing industry into the state's general fund.

The Governor's proposal will:

· Allow the Governor to appoint one-third of the members to the new NYRA board of directors or 5 of the 15 members;
· With one member also appointed by the Senate and Assembly, there would be at least 7 of the 15 members appointed directly by our state government;
· The Governor would also appoint the new Chair of the Board of Directors;
· Transfer VLT funds away from NYRA that were previously designed for Capital improvements at Belmont, Aqueduct and the Saratoga Race Course as well as funds for NYRA operations;
· Provide sweeping new powers to various public agencies expanding their role from oversight to protect the public good, to empowering these agencies to be able to manipulate NYRA's budget and operations.

Four years ago, this Governor promised to return NYRA to a not-for-profit corporation in three years. He did not keep that promise last year. This year, his plan is another means by which he is seeking to exert his control over NYRA and the future of our state's Thoroughbred racing industry.

We are vehemently opposed to the transfer of funds legally designated via prior agreements to support our state's Thoroughbred racing industry into the state's general fund. This change ignores the fact that New York State was given $1 billion in real estate at NYRA's three tracks in return for the granting of a 25-year franchise agreement and a legislatively-approved revenue sharing formula from the VLT at Aqueduct. The VLT revenues are like mortgage payments for the land. If they can change the agreement this year, they will change it next year too.

We're seeing a renaissance of racing in Saratoga and New York State. Here in Saratoga our race meeting is one of the most successful and most popular in all of the world. The Saratoga Race Course is the oldest sporting venue in the United States and the transfer of funds away from NYRA as proposed by the Governor could harm our plans to improve this facility so that it succeeds for another 150 years.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of Saratoga's local legislators working collaboratively with the Capital Region's delegation and the Chairs of the Assembly and Senate Racing Committees to re-privatize NYRA as a not-for-profit corporation. They clearly want to keep this promise before the legislative session ends this June. We hope that they will provide a clean stand-alone bill for the Governor to sign.

  • Figless

    Like cockroaches once the politicians get in the door they are impossible to remove.

  • SPA

    Nobody should be surprised that Cuomo would pull a maneuver like this. He, like his father, DETESTS racing. Cuomo should worry about the investigation the FEDS are conducting rather than trying to ripoff more money.

    • lastromantribune

      well stated.

    • Nancy

      Yes he should be worried because Preet Bhara gets his man unlike Paul Fishman in NJ. I hope Cuomo gets what he deserves.

  • Jackmw

    This guy is as duplicitus and disingenuous as a politician can be. He and his elitist NYC liberals have no interest in furthering the growth of Thoroughbred racing. Diverting funds away from the organization and packing the Board with his political hacks are all part of his grand plan to exert control over the sport.

  • Tjs

    The best Cuomo will get is another year with state oversight.

    The Assembly and Senate are good wit the return to private non profit status.

    Saber rattling to appease his liberal lobby. Going nowhere

    • Joseph R Monaco

      I think you may be right!!!

  • C Hogan

    He’s a Liberal. New York gets just what they deserve.

    • What in the hell does being a Liberal have to do with this situation?

      • SPA

        Barry, in past posts you have mentioned Trump and Republicans when they had no bearing on the subject. This whole one party is good and the other is bad is what has ripped off the taxpayers for years. They are all bad. People with jobs paying $200,000 a year becoming millionaires in a few years after getting elected is BS on all fronts.

        • whirlaway

          So true once again as November draws near I am asking myself do I want
          to be shot or stabbed. This year is a real crock. Been an independent for
          years and I dislike most politicians, don’t feel there are many that really give a care for most citizens. I am planning to write in come November.

    • Chris Lowe

      I’m a liberal and I wouldn’t (and didn’t) vote for this waste of oxygen.

  • Marvin Gardens

    Little by little the state will chip away at the vlt revenue the tracks receive. See Pa.

    • Whirlaway4ever

      See WV.

  • I would put the focus not on Cuomo being a Liberal as much as him being close to casino interests.

  • jhp cpa from pa

    He contributed to the state of today’s racing industry. Coumo is a corrupt as they come. He played a major part in the housing collapse by threatening banks to give bad loans which caused the housing bubble and subsequently the Obama Depression which has devastated the
    horse industry.

  • Mike Oliveto

    You knew this was coming from day-1. Cuomo has hijacked just about every dollar in the state and transferred them to the state’s general fund. This maneuver was 1-9 on the morning line.

  • we’re watching

    Cuomo is nothing but another corrupt politician from NY who won;t be in office in a few more years. Still living off his father’s work. This is more than despicable and there should be more introspection into the reasons for this back door maneuvering. $$$$

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