The Race Horse Development Fund provides $240 million per year in taxpayer-funded subsidies to wealthy horseracing enthusiasts and hobbyists. Since 2004, Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry has received a staggering $3 billion in revenues. The money is used to pad cash prizes and inflate pensions for wealthy horse owners, breeders, and trainers. It also funds drug testing for horses and advertising costs for racetrack marketing, among other things.

The system is also rife with conflicts of interest and self-dealing. The industry regulatory body, the State Racing Commission, is run by the horseman – the very beneficiaries of millions of state dollars in subsidies.

The breeding funds operate with little public oversight and very little accountability to taxpayers. Meanwhile, inadequate state funding for early childhood education in PA means that more than half of preschoolers who are eligible for publicly funded, high-quality pre-k don’t get to attend. Pennsylvania college graduates carry the 2nd highest student debt in the nation. Pennsylvania ranks 47th out of 50 states for investment per capita in higher education. And, Pennsylvania ranks 44th in the nation for covering the cost of K-12 education.

Instead of funding wealthy horse hobbyists, we should be putting the hundreds of millions in annual subsidies toward Pennsylvania students. It’s time to start putting the education of children over the hobbies of billionaires. 

Visit www.kidsoverhorseracing.org to learn more