Tropea: Taxes Don't Fund Racing
Published: February 22, 2012 4:08 pm ET
Last Comment: February 26, 2012 1:51 am ET | 10 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
After a successful Queen's Park rally on Wednesday, February 22, which saw roughly 25 MPPs in attendance, Ontario Harness Horse Association General Manager Brian Tropea took to the airwaves to spread the truth regarding Ontario's slots-at-racetracks program.
Tropea was given the opportunity to go live on air on 570 News and have a brief discussion about the controversial topic with afternoon call-in host Gary Doyle.
In addition to clearing up multiple misconceptions regarding the economically-successful slots-at-racetrack program, Tropea explained that the 500-600 horse-racing industry participants that attended Wednesday's rally helped create one of the largest Queen's Park demonstrations that the MPPs have seen.
The Ontario Liberal Government has stated that it would like to either alter or cut the economically-successful slots-at-racetracks program, which allows the government to take in more than $1-billion in annual revenue, in order to address its provincial deficit.
Year-in and year-out, the Ontario horse racing industry has proven to be nothing but an economic boon for the province of Ontario. The province receives $261 million a year directly from the horse racing industry and its participants. The Ontario horse-racing industry employs 60,000 Ontarians and sees a total of $1.5-billion in wages and salaries sustained annually from total expenditures from the Ontario horse racing and breeding industry.
The Ontario horse-racing industry annually receives a combined 20 per cent of revenue from slot machines at racetracks under the agreement. The slot machines housed within the walls of racetracks have been in direct competition with the tracks' own racing product.
In addressing its desire to renege on its slots-at-racetracks agreement with the Ontario horse-racing industry, the Liberal Government has chosen to repeatedly misconstrue the business relationship between the two entities as a 'subsidy,' to which those educated in the topic realize is not accurate in any way, shape or form.
"It isn't a subsidy," Tropea told Doyle. "For Duncan (Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan) to say that is offensive... it's an arrangement that the government made with racing."
Tropea told Doyle and his listeners that roughly 25 MPPs, both opposition PC and NDP, attended the rally.
Doyle asked if the Ontario Harness Horse Association has made any headway with the Liberals MPPs. "We've got until the budget to do that," said Tropea, hopeful that people take the time to examine the economic impact of Ontario's horse racing industry and realize the catastrophic nature of what those cuts could mean to the province.
The Ontario horse-racing industry as a whole also accounts for $2-billion in annual expenditures, which is up 67 per cent from the year 2000.
During the call-in show, Tropea specifically directed one of his comments to the listening public. "Not one cent of your tax dollars has ever gone to subsidize racing."
The horse-racing industry is the second largest sub-sector of Ontario's agricultural economy, with an economic contribution in excess of wheat, eggs, poultry and hogs in 2010.