FTBOA Facilitates United Industry Front, Leads to Added Breeding and Racing Money and HISA Funding
BY MATT BRYAN, FTBOA LOBBYIST
I have good news to report from the halls of the Capitol in Tallahassee. The Florida Legislature passed HB 7063, this year’s tax package, which contains a variety of tax reductions including a bundle of issues related to the Thoroughbred industry. Representative Stan McClain, House Ways and Means chairman, led the effort to include the following in HB 7063 for each of the next two fiscal years:
- $5 million to the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association for awards and incentives.
- $5 million to Tampa Bay Downs for purses and facilities, pursuant to an agreement with the Tampa Bay Downs Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
- $15 million to Gulfstream Park for purses and facility improvements, pursuant to an agreement with the Florida Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
- $2.5 million for Florida-bred stakes and purse bonuses in Florida races.
- Tax credits to the Thoroughbred racetracks to cover costs of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act assessments.
For those of you working on your calculators, the bill provides a total of $27.5 million in each of the next two fiscal years, for a total of $55 million plus HISA credits. We are thrilled that the Legislature has recognized the economic contributions the Thoroughbred industry provides to the State of Florida and has reinvested in it.
As is always the case with major successes, we have several elected officials to thank. In the House, Representative McClain was the driving force behind this package, with strong support from House Speaker Paul Renner and Representative Lawrence McClure.
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo was a champion for the Thoroughbred industry, with Senators Keith Perry and Dennis Baxley in lock step with us throughout the entire process. Finally, a big thank you is owed to Senate Finance and Tax chair Blaise Ingoglia who agreed to include our issue in the tax package and defended it well against some criticism.
We expect the Governor to sign the bill into law once he receives it.
Lonny Powell – Serita Hult Photo
It is such a pleasure to report this encouraging news. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, led by CEO Lonny Powell, developed this funding package and was side-by-side with me for the many weeks we worked to make this happen.
Powell said he is appreciative of the work put in by Bryan and thanked the legislators who were instrumental in passing the monolithic legislation.
“This industry is extremely fortunate to have some very determined supporters and leaders in Tallahassee who appreciate our nearly $3 billion annual economic impact to the Sunshine State,” Powell said. “I echo our lobbyist Matt Bryan’s shout-outs to these numerous dedicated and engaged elected officials led by our Speaker, Senate President, Senator Blaise Ingoglia, Representatives Lawrence McClure and particularly Marion County’s own Stan McClain who is such a big supporter of the Thoroughbred breeders, owners and farms in our Ocala metro area better known as the Horse Capital of the World®.
“Matt gets our collective ‘Session MVP Award’ for his incredible determination and energy,” Powell added. “This amazing legislative victory could not have happened without him with big assists from Jon Rees and the Smith, Bryan & Meyers firm. FTBOA general counsel Warren Husband played his usual stellar ‘A-Game’ and we had quality support via the home Ocala office with executives Peggy Yost and Steve Koch as well as FTBOA president George Isaacs and his officer team all contributing greatly to this collective effort that included both tracks and horsemen groups’ leadership.”