Sunday, February 14, 2010

Go Green

Tracks and racing organizations are constantly asking for government help. We often read a similar angle while they try to convince government for this help: Racing speaks of the "economic impact" when money is injected into racing, and hands off an economic impact study, done by some company with six names. This has always been a curious angle to me. Sure if you give a racetrack $20M for purses, that money will get filtered down to feed men, hay farmers, gas stations, trailer and truck sellers and so on. But if I give that $20M to say, a deck maker to give everyone a free cedar deck, then that money will be filtered down to lumberjacks, construction workers, steel makers and places that sell those tables with umbrellas in the middle of them (among others).

Why do they continue to do this in places like Jersey? I don't really know. If anyone knows about people asking them for dough it is the government, and they know x will go up if you give money to y. They see these things every day.

I think it is time for a new approach. It's time to throw those economic impact studies in the scrap heap, and go green.

Keeping farm land and pasture land away from urban sprawl is a pretty compelling argument. Nowadays land is getting swallowed up for development everywhere we turn. Keeping racing in business helps make the states who help it, green.

Although the environment is falling down the list of the general public's main concerns, it is still pretty big in government - sometimes bordering on the incredulous. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a subsidy for of all things, golf carts. Because golf carts fall under the "electric car" category, you can pretty much get one free (in the US). Enterprising businesses are pushing this strange loophole:

Golf Cart Man is referring to his offer in which you can buy the cart for $8,000, get a $5,300 tax credit off your 2009 income tax, lease it back for $100 a month for 27 months, at which point Golf Cart Man will buy back the cart for $2,000. "This means you own a free Golf Cart or made $2,000 cash doing absolutely nothing!!!" You can't blame a guy for exploiting loopholes that Congress offers.

That might make us scratch our head, but it is what it is. If racing truly wants to advance their argument in places like Jersey, go green. They seem to like giving away cash if you bring that message.

4 comments:

MH said...

I don't know about Jersey, but my local tracks give the stuff mucked from stalls to mushroom farms who grow icky fungi in it. That's "green!"

Pacingguy said...

The horsemen have been bringing up the fact that racing keeps farms farming and provides for open space. Perhaps they need to emphasize it more as you suggest.

Here may be an angle on the green angle they can use. Right now there is a program called Green Acres which buys up land to keep it green. Taxpayer money funds this. Perhaps arguing it keeps open space without costing the state any tax money is the way to go.

Cangamble said...

Pacinguy, what is really sad about the state of horse racing today is that it needs to come up with more inventive ways to subsidize itself outside of what it really is, which is a game of chance, and it should do well on that alone because people love to gamble....they just want a fair shake.

Pacingguy said...

Cangamble,

I agree. The sport is exciting enough if the stakesholders in the sport give people a chance to experience it.

I merely pointed out the way they make the case, academically. I agree with NJ Governor Christie, racing needs to learn how to be self-substaining.