03/30/2011 11:08AM

New York purse tax dropped from state budget negotiations

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A 2.75 percent tax on purse winnings at New York tracks has been removed from the state’s budget negotiations, according to a representative of New York’s horsemen and another state official.

New York racing officials had lobbied hard to get the tax removed from the negotiations. The tax was initially proposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a way to raise additional funding for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, which regulates racing and gambling in the state.

Rick Violette, the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said that racing lobbyists presented data to state officials showing that the New York racing industry had paid $68 million in state taxes in the past fiscal year in arguing against Cuomo’s contention that the board was being subsidized by taxpayers. According to estimates from Cuomo’s office, the 2.75 percent tax would have raised an additional $8 million annually for the board.

“It was a stretch saying that the general population was footing the tax bill for the racing industry,” Violette said. “That isn’t so. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed.”