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Committee Members Defend Indiana Subsidy

Published: March 29, 2011 11:48 am ET

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Indiana legislators are currently working on a two-year, $28 billion budget which could see the state's subsidy to its horse racing industry cut by more than half. Many are calling for such a move, although influential legislator Luke Kenley has explained why the current structure results in a financial boon for the state.

An article by the Evansville Courier & Press has cited a study by a Purdue University Calumet as finding that the decision by the state government to subsidize the racing industry four years ago has resulted in the industry to be worth $1 billion. Thus, the subsidy has resulted in exactly what it was intended to for the state.

With the two-year budget currently being decided upon, there is a call from at least one legislator to see the levels of the subsidy reduced. Enter Kenley, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who is preaching that the subsidy should not be touched.

"The Purdue study tends to show that the economic development that's occurred as a result of this has actually been even greater than anticipated, and I think we need to keep the agreement we made," Kenley was quoted as saying.

Senator Lindel Hume, also a member of the appropriations committee, agrees, and has stated, "We're deciding to change the rules in the middle of the stream when people are making tremendous investments in this state in the horse racing industry."

Hume continued, "It's a tremendous agriculture and economic benefit for the state, and for us to change the rules now is just wrong. It's going to cost the state more than it's going to save us in the long run."

(With files from the Evansville Courier & Press)

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