03/27/2007 11:00PM

KHRA budget unchanged


The Kentucky legislature adjourned late Tuesday without addressing a bill that would have increased the budget of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority by 40 percent.

The racing authority, which regulates racing in the state, was seeking the increase in order to address budget shortfalls that had resulted in criticism from the state's auditor. The bill would have given the authority an additional $1.2 million in funding from the general assembly, increasing its annual budget to $4.2 million, and the authority had planned to use the additional funds to hire several veterinarians and a supervisor of parimutuel wagering.

Lisa Underwood, the executive director of the authority, said Wednesday that the racing authority was prepared to review "all options" to increase its funding for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, including the reinstatement of assessments on tracks. Those assessments, which totaled $1.2 million a year, were suspended last year.

The legislature adjourned on Tuesday night without addressing a handful of major spending issues, including a proposal to allocate $38 million for improvements to the Kentucky Horse Park, where the racing authority is located, in anticipation of the park hosting the World Equestrian Games in 2010.

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a Republican who had supported the increase in funding, is expected to push for the legislature to come back in session after a Mayo22 gubernatorial primary.