02/12/2007 1:00AM

Call to raise Kentucky panel funds


Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has recommended that the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority receive $1.2 million in increased funding for the 2008 fiscal year, according to the budget his staff prepared last week.

The recommendation would boost the authority's budget by 40 percent over 2007's budget of $3 million, subject to approval by the Kentucky legislature.

Earlier this year, Kentucky's state auditor criticized the authority for failing to meet requirements for accounting and operating with a shortage of personnel. The authority replied in part by contending that its budget fell well short of adding the positions recommended in the audit.

The authority's executive director, Lisa Underwood, said Monday that the increased funding would allow the authority to fill a handful of new positions, including several veterinarians, investigators, and a supervisor of parimutuel betting, which is required by statute.

The budget would need to be approved by both houses of the Kentucky legislature.