02/01/2011 3:17PM

New York owners face new tax

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Horse owners in New York would pay a 2.75-percent tax on purse earnings under a plan proposed by the state’s new governor, Andrew Cuomo, to raise money for the funding of the state’s racing commission.

The proposal was contained in a budget plan Cuomo released on Tuesday that seeks to close a $10 billion deficit over the next two years. According to the plan, the tax on purse earnings would raise $7.6 million in funding for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board this year, and $8.5 million next year.

In an analysis of the racing board’s budget, the governor’s office said that the board had “borrowed” money from the state to finance its operations over the last several years, a situation the surcharge would correct.

“The additional revenue from the purse surcharge, combined with cost-containment actions assumed in the budget, will eliminate the need for further general fund advances and will thus ensure that the cost for the board’s regulatory activities are fully borne by the racing industry rather than by taxpayers,” the analysis said.

Richard Violette, the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said that horsemen were opposed to the surcharge because of the impact it would have on owners. Currently, horse owners in New York pay a $10 fee on each start to the racing board, and 0.5 percent of handle is also directed to the board for its funding.

Under the plan, an owner who earns $10,000 in a race would be liable for $275 in taxes. It was unclear if the tax would be deducted from purse earnings or applied to the total, Violette said.

“Any way you look at it, it’s about a 3 percent decrease in purses,” Violette said.