02/09/2006 1:00AM

NYRA plans to pay tax bill


The New York Racing Association intends to satisfy an outstanding $1.125 million tax debt to the state of New York after a $20 million loan package is approved by the state legislature, NYRA's chief executive, Charles Hayward, said on Thursday.

On Tuesday, New York's Department of Taxation and Finance issued a tax warrant against NYRA, claiming that the association failed to pay taxes on parimutuel wagering for two 30-day periods in late 2005. The warrant was attached to NYRA's property as a security against the debt.

During negotiations late last year on a $30 million loan package from the state, NYRA officials told state representatives that the association could not pay its parimutuel taxes, Hayward said. The loan package was approved at the end of December, but only $5 million has been released to NYRA so far. Most of the loan, $20 million, still needs to be approved by the legislature.

"We told them that we had temporarily stopped paying our parimutuel taxes because we were running out of money," Hayward said. "They are aware of it, and we're hopeful to set this matter straight once we get the loan."

Hayward said that legislation providing the loan has been drafted, and that he hoped the bill would be introduced to the legislature next week.