Maryland: Budget Shortfall Nixes Bill That Would Create Equine Medical Director Position

by | 02.23.2017 | 1:51pm
Pimlico Racecourse

Supporters of a bill that would create a position of equine medical director in Maryland will have to wait another day after the proposal was withdrawn due to an impending budget shortfall.

The Racing Biz reports that the bill, which had the support of the Maryland Jockey Club, in addition to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association, was withdrawn after legislators proposed the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) to deal with the 2017 budget.

According to the report, the BRFA would transfer the funding for the Racing Commission, which is currently supported by the state's general fund, over to the Purse Dedication Account, which would force the racing industry to cover the funding – an amount which would likely be over $2 million.

“We thought [the equine medical director legislation] was complicated by BRFA, and we didn't need that complication,” Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (MTHA) general counsel Alan Foreman told the Racing Biz. “We have to deal with [BRFA] and nothing else.”

The racing industry is in the midst of a renaissance in Maryland, which has benefited from revenue generated by slot machines/casino gambling.

“The industry is in a period of growth,” said Sal Sinatra, president of the Maryland Jockey Club. “To cut the funding sets us back five years, and it takes the momentum away. It's tough.”

Read more in The Racing Biz

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