Florida lawmakers passed a tax package May 5 that includes significant support for the state's Thoroughbred industry. With the support of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo; Senator Blaise Ingoglia, the Finance and Tax Chair; and Senator Jason Pizzo; House Speaker Paul Renner; Representative Stan McClain, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Representative Lawrence McClure, chair of the State Affairs Committee; as well as Wilton Simpson, Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture, the package includes $27.5 million annually for two years to bolster purses and racing awards at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs. In addition, the two tracks will be provided tax credits to offset the cost of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety (HISA) Program in Florida; the HISA assessment for Florida for 2023 will be $5.9 million.
Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law.
“We thank Governor DeSantis and all of our state legislators who recognize the importance of Thoroughbred racing and breeding to the state of Florida,” Florida Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Joe Orseno said. “The revenue generated through this bill will help ensure the continued stability and growth of an industry that is so important to so many Floridians.”
The FTHA represents more than 6,000 horse owners and trainers who not only work and race at Gulfstream, but also do business throughout the state. FTHA and 1/ST Racing, which owns and operates Gulfstream, worked in tandem with Tampa Bay Downs to craft the language for the legislation and to get it passed. Although the primary focus of the bill is support for the racing industry, the FTBOA was also at the table so that all stakeholders were represented.
According to a study by the American Horse Council, Florida's Thoroughbred industry has a $2.7 billion economic impact and creates more than 23,000 job opportunities in the state. From the racetracks, to the training centers, to the breeding farms to the horse retirement facilities, there are nearly 100,000 Thoroughbreds stabled in virtually every county in Florida.
“Florida supports hundreds of equine-related businesses–not just the tracks and the racing stables and breeding operations, but the ancillary business as well, such as feed and tack stores, veterinary services, transportation, insurance companies, attorneys, the list goes on and on,” Orseno said. “We are thrilled that our Governor and our legislators have given their support to the thousands in the state who depend upon the Thoroughbred industry.”
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