Calling it a haphazard allocation that defies reason or logic, Governor Chris Christie today vetoed the minutes of June 29, 2011, meeting of the New Jersey Racing Commission for its approval of $15 million in subsidies to augment horse racing purses, in defiance of the administration’s recently achieved agreements to make horse racing a self-sustaining industry.
“The actions of the Commissioners of the NJRC appear to constitute an abdication of their responsibilities as Commissioners to protect the best interests of the State of New Jersey and its citizens,” said Governor Christie in his veto letter. “The NJRC’s decision to allocate $15 million in state subsidies for the support of New Jersey horse racing industry contradicts and jeopardizes my stated goal of creating a self-sustaining course for the horse racing industry, which culminated in the recent agreements with private individuals to shift track operations at both the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park from the State to the private sector.”
The Governor noted that the allocation of the purse subsidies had no demonstrated basis, rationale or request in the record. Specifically, part of the allocation involved awarding subsidies to groups that did not request money, including $7.5 million that the NJRC directed to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority for purses at Meadowlands Racetrack. Funds were also allocated for the benefit of the Standardbred Breeder’s & Owners Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, yet those two organizations specifically asked that no monies be allocated for purse enhancement. Additionally, groups that did request money were allocated a much greater amount than requested.
“We have an obligation to the New Jersey horse racing industry and our citizens to restructure the industry so it can be competitive and financially self-sustaining in the long run. The sooner that initiative is underway, which requires the elimination of state subsidies for horseracing, the better chance it has to succeed,” the Governor added.
No other actions by the Commission were vetoed by the Governor