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By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

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Gov. Wolf is so very wrong

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

First things first.  Golf Bucks County has, at its heart, provided information about golf in the county and in general. For 20 plus years it has reported on professional and amateur golf that affects the area, bringing everything it can to its viewers.

Sometimes it varies from golf into other arena, but only when the issue has a serious impact on the area. Today, that issue centers around Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Wolf's proposal to steal from the Horse Racing Development TRUST (emphasis intended) Fund.  Like our legislators in Washington, who have raided the Social Security TRUST fund for years, Wolf now wants to raid something that isn't his to raid. 

Fact is - and many proponents of Wolf's plan to fund higher education with money from the Trust don't understand is that robbing Peter to pay Paulette just isn't appropriate. The Trust fund established for horse racing was a deal which started when casino gambling was proposed in the state. It was negotiated that horse racing would receive a portion of slot revenues and in return the casinos were allowed in Pennsylvania.

Bottom line is horse racing - standardbred and thoroughbred - was impacted with the addition of casino games, and the two industries were tied at the hip going forward. Fact is, Parx, Penn National, Presque Isle Downs, Mohegan Sun and Harrah's Chester among others all have the combined racinos. 

The state oversees to ensure no hijinx occurs, and of course tax the businesses to the tune of nearly $70 million annually, but the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Development Trust is a separate entity. It should not be raided. That’s the law.

At West Chester University today Governor Wolf was quoted as saying he does not care the fund is a trust with a specific beneficiary. He knows all. "I't a bill I'm happy to die on," said the Democratic governor. 

Clearly misguided. Short sighted. 

Okay, he's all for raiding a trust fund. But of more importance, he's in favor of killing a thriving industry. Breeding alone has increased in multiples since the Trust was established. Horse racing generates more than $1.6 billion in economic impact to the state, employing nearly 25,000 Pennsylvanians who are not fat cats but everyday citizens. The fund helps in keeping open spaces green, protecting thousands of acres from development. 

Hundreds of broodmares have been added to the Pennsylvania roster of moms, while Smarty Jones came home to Pennsylvania, Hoppertunity relocated to the state and Uptowncharlybrown has developed into a class dad. 

All without taxpayer funding. Only generation of taxes. All from the knowledge that the Pennsylvania Horse Development Trust was safe from stink-filled swamp dwelling politicians sticky fingers. 

The Governor is willing to end all of these positives by stealing from a trust fund. What will his next attack me?

Rather than raiding a trust fund, but keeping with an idea to help higher education, he could direct the Pennsylvania Lottery to offer games which would benefit the state's higher education system. As a Bloomsburg graduate I'd support such a program. He could cut government pork. 

Heck, that would be a win-win for the state. 

Instead he wants to risk thousands of jobs and millions in tax money by crippling an industry.  Clearly, not a well thought out plan and a plan best known as Wolf's Folly. 

In golf, this would be a triple bogey of a plan.  

Hay ride - According to section 1405 of the Trust Fund act, the trust funds "are not funds of the State (of Pennsylvania). "The Commonwealth shall not be entitled to any money described under this section...Numerous breeders have been skeptical about breeding in Pennsylvania given the Governors decision to pick winners and losers. This will severely impact the industry now.