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28 March 2001 Issue
Subsidizing Greyhound Racing

by Associated Press, 3/15/2001

BOSTON (AP) A proposal to cut racing taxes and increase what the state pays to promote greyhound tracks would amount to an $8 million subsidy to track owners, anti-greyhound racing activists said Thursday.

''This is the most obvious form of political back-scratching,'' said Carey Theil of the group GREY2K, which sponsored last year's ballot question banning greyhound racing. The measure was defeated.

Theil pointed to the $110,445 donated to lawmakers by people working in the greyhound racing industry in the past three years. During the same time, he said, the industry spent about $448,333 lobbying lawmakers.

Track owners say they pay more taxes than many businesses. Besides sales and corporate taxes, race tracks also pay taxes on each race, according to Richard Dalton of the Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere.

''They are out and out lying. They are describing this business as having a subsidy. We are a taxpaying industry,'' Dalton said.

One proposal on Beacon Hill would cut the tax on live races from 5 percent to 2.75 percent, cut the tax on televised races from 2.5 percent to .75 percent and increase state payments to greyhound racing promotional and improvement funds from $1.3 million to $3.73 million, activists said.

Dalton said the industry itself has yet to agree on their own proposal.

The industry is hoping to have a new law in place before the end of June, when a law allowing betting on televised races, known as ''simulcasting,'' expires.

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