11/08/2001 1:00AM

Massachusetts passes tax cut


The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill Wednesday that will give the racing industry in the state $5 million in tax breaks, but it is unknown if the measure will be signed by Gov. Jane Swift.

The bill would benefit Suffolk Downs, a harness track, and two greyhound tracks in the state by allowing the tracks to keep the proceeds from uncashed winning tickets and by refunding a certain percentage of parimutuel taxes. Uncashed tickets were previously directed to the state.

Details were not immediately available about what specifically the bill would provide. Manny Roos, the president of the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said the bill would likely provide for a $2 million to $3 million in purse supplements, with another $2 million being returned to racetracks for capital improvements.

Roos said that the bill also addresses the division of revenue between tracks and horsemen on simulcasts, a source of contention between the two groups over the past year. Roos added that horsemen were not entirely pleased with the split, but supported the bill.

"It's better than not having a bill at all, and as long as this saves the track for the time being, we can work with it," Roos said.