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Monday, February 29, 2016

Republicans repealing Democratic dog racing subsidies in West Virginia

When Democratic Governor Gaston Caperton and his Democratic Legislarure stretched the state constitution to allow the dog tracks and horse tracks to have casino games, then-Senate Finance Chairman Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, sneaked in subsidies for dog breeders and horse breeders.

His mom just happened to own a kennel. In the 82 years that Democrats controlled the Legislature, coincidence was a daily occurrence.

Now as governor, Tomblin may oversee the demise of these subsidies -- which gave his family more than $2 million over the years. Having finally put Republicans in charge of the Legislature, voters are getting more change than a piggy bank holds.




Hoppy Kercheval reported last month: "A WVU study found the greyhound industry had a $31 million economic impact on the state in 2012, but state subsidies that year totaled $29 million."

The Wheeling Intelligencer editorialized last fall to rid the state of these subsidies:
At one point, nearly $90 million a year in gambling proceeds was going to the dogs (and horses) in the Mountain State. As legislators scrambled during recent years to balance budgets, the subsidies have been reduced.
And West Virginia has not been alone in doing that. According to an Associated Press report, officials in other states have cut or plan to reduce subsidies. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2011 eliminated $30 million in subsidies poured into racing from casinos in Atlantic City.
Much of the sales pitch dog- and horse-racing interests used to gain their subsidies in the first place was a plea to prop up declining businesses and thus preserve jobs.
But here in West Virginia and in other states, many types of businesses have suffered during recent years. No one offers a cut of the casino take to the coal industry. No one suggested preserving Ohio Valley steel mills might be worth diverting a few million dollars from gambling machines instead of letting it flow where it belongs – to the state treasury.
I love that last paragraph.

The state has an $847 million hole in its budget. Subsidizing an industry that is cruel to animals should be automatic.

Especially now that grown-ups are in charge of the Legislature.

25 comments:

  1. The breeders' subsidies always did rankle me. Good riddance. - Elric

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  2. I too wish to see the subsidies eliminated. Long overdue. But those grown ups you refer to Surber (i.e., "Republicans") have no plan to address this $837 million hole over the next two years. But these "grown ups" have plenty of time to pass irrelevant gun laws; make an effort to strike down discrimination ordinances passed in 11 cities (so much for 'governing less'); repeal right to work and state prevailing wage laws with no proof it will save W.Va. money, etc. The "grown ups" have yet to address the state roads which went from the 14th worst in nation in 2014 to 8th worse in nation in 2015. Tell me again how the "Rs" are making a difference? About as much difference as the "Rs" in Washington.

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    1. Tort reform. Right To Work. End Prevailing Wages... are you really that ignorant of the pro-business legislation passed? Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed every piece of legislation that will help the economy. We have the worst roads after 82 years of Democrats funding them. I just schooled you on the difference. What did Danny Wells do in his 10 years in the Legislature except mooch free food?

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    2. The Rs took up no fiscal notes on RTW and PW and offered no concrete proof that either piece will make things better financially for West Virginia. For me personally, those new laws are window dressing. Neither will attract new businesses. Without better infrastructure and a better educated workforce, W.Va. will tread water at best. In other words, the Rs - like the Ds before them - continue to bark up the wrong trees. Danny Wells is doing the same as your local R reps - sitting in the back row taking marching orders from a select few. Heaven forbid independent and innovative thought enters the legislative chambers.

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    3. If the state hadn't subsidized dog breeders for 20 years we could have better infrastructure. My reps (Cadle and Ihle) and senators (Gaunch and Walters) are doing the job I sent them to do. I really don't care about the seating chart in the chambers. But the real back benchers are Ds these days. It will take a decade to clean up 82 years of stupidity

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    4. The dog breeder fund is nickels and dimes compared to what is needed to fix the projected budget deficit. Still waiting on the wise Rs to tell me how they will balance the budget.

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  3. It takes more than just a few minutes to correct decades of decay.

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    1. Some of the worst "decay" occurred when a R was governor.

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    2. Hahahaha -- I called your bullshit earlier and I call it again. He needed approval of a Democratic Legislature and Democrats wouldn't budge. They destroyed the state's economy just to prevent Arch from saving it.

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    3. Your revisionist history is mind-blowing.

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    4. As Tomblin learned, a simple majority overrides a veto. Arch was able to work with Democrats in the 1970s. Sadly, a new crew of socialists blocked all efforts to clean up the mess Jay Rockefeller left behind.

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    5. Yep, rolling back workers comp premiums; allowing state employees to trade unused sick leave into health insurance premiums after retirement and that famed Super Tax credit - which set back W.Va. by about $1 billion sure were positives left behind by Moore, a convicted felon no less.

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    6. Passed by the Democratic Legislature. Rather than fix problems -- tort reform, right to work, prevailing wage -- we got this crap. But blame Moore for 82 years of neglect by Democrats. After all, no Democratic governor went to prison. Oh wait, Wally Barron.

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    7. Arch Moore and Cecil Underwood are just as much to blame as Democrats for the state's current affairs. They, like the Dems, bowed to the coal industry and provided no vision, no forward thinking to advancing the state. To say the current Rs in charge are about to change that is absurd at best and topping that, is the fact the Rs have no budget woes answers. At least the state has balanced its books in recent years. The Rs show no sign of providing leadership on this issue.

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    8. ANYBODY who hits my Big D's site using "Anonymous"... What state do you live in, you chickenshit?

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    9. I think it's funny that cowards like Anonymous feel free to intrude on the state of things in West Virginia. If you're a resident, fine...but state your name and city. If you're not, then get the hell out of our business you chickenshit.

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    10. They, like the Dems, bowed to the coal industry and provided no vision, no forward thinking to advancing the state.

      You're bound to be disappointed if you're looking to the state for entrepreneurship. That's not the vocation of the state. The state's job is to enforce the law, build and maintain public works, allocate franchises to use common property resources, and engage is a certain amount of common provision

      West Virginia has a wretched reputation as regards its tort system. You can likely simplify your tax system and remove some perverse incentives therein, restructure your public pension system to move toward defined contribution plans for public employees, limit compensation per worker in the public sector to a fixed % of compensation per worker in the private sector, end collective bargaining for public employees, downsize your higher education system, and develop system of statewide regents examinations conjoined to voucher distribution to replace your public primary and secondary systems.

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    11. Arch Moore and Cecil Underwood are just as much to blame as Democrats for the state's current affairs.

      Again, the state's comparative economic blah can be dated to about 1950, when the state reached its population peak and demographic growth in step with national means ceased. You've named the only two Republicans to hold the office since 1948. Over a period of 60-odd years, the Democratic Party has held the governor's office 70% of the time and the legislature 100% of the time. Somehow I doubt the Republicans are 'just as much to blame'.

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  4. I wish West Virginia all the good luck in the world. After 82 years of corrupt Dimmocratic rule they need it. It won't happen overnight - Ted Strickland and just 4 years of Dimmcrat legislature left John Kasich an 8 billion dollar hole to fill, and some of what was necessary to fill it was painful. However today we have a rainy day fund, and Site Selection magazine rated Ohio one of the top 5 states in which to locate a manufacturing business.

    Stay the course, West Virginia. Give the RTW law and the other reforms a few years. It's all about growth and jobs.

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    1. Yeah, that's cool, but I had to drive through Columbus on the way up north for a funeral two weeks ago and it was a bloody mess. Kasich was on the road campaigning. Make of it what you will.

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  5. Anonyass can shove it. I'd ban him if I were you, Don. If this was his site he'd have done it to you long ago.

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  6. Thanks but he/she amuses me for the time being

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    1. Likewise, I love this blog for the constant contradictions.

      "We didn't stop being great, Mister Trump ... America is great. America does it all." - Don Surber

      "America never stopped being great." - Hillary Clinton

      Cant hide your true colors

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    2. You caught me. I am Hillary Clinton's ghostwriter.

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