Now we are talking what is Horse Racing’s real issues and problem here in the State of Michigan.
In what seems to be an overnight turn about by Tom Gantert from Michigan Capitol Confidential. He is now at least recognizing what I and many have known and talked about since the opening of Pinnacle Race Course in 2008.
Of course he still has his Editors note about the The Michigan Economic Development Corporation which makes no sense to me. Considering his different tone on our plight here in Michigan concerning our Industry of Horse Racing. But at least now he acknowledges what our struggle has been. A State that is Contradictory in every sense of the word when it comes to Horse Racing. In a Blog I wrote June 11, 2010. Michigan Millions of Dollars Throw Away. HORSE RACING.
I also described Governor Granholm as Tom Gantert’s exact wording in his latest Title.
We Generate this money, but as pointed out by the Mi. HBPA we cannot use any of this simulcasting money to fund the rest of our live 2010 racing dates. From 84 days to 3 days. Governor Granholm who is like a scattered brain schizophrenic who is forever changing her direction and thought process, has taking in essence the very one entity who has always generated revenue for the State. And AXED IT. The Office of Racing Commisioner. Horse Racing in the State of Michigan goes a lot further back then this Race Result Chart of June 5, 1948 at the Detroit Fairgrounds.
Tuesday’s Article by Gantert was definitely at least ringing some truths to what has indeed taking place in the State of Michigan.
“Schizophrenic” State Planning
Horse racing industry is both victim of state efforts to kill gambling and beneficiary of state efforts to subsidize gambling
Editor’s note: The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has been no stranger to controversy during this year, with perhaps the most exceptional case being its attempt to give a special tax deal to a company run by a convicted felon. This week, MichCapCon.com will be reviewing another MEDC project that has become mired in controversy.
In 2008, the newly built Pinnacle Race Course in Huron Township was eligible for more than $48 million in tax incentives over 30 years. The MEDC trumpeted this project as “the beginning of a world-class commercial and industrial complex and transportation hub that will mark the entry of western Wayne County into the global economy.”
But today, county officials say the track has liens on it and has unpaid property taxes for 2009 and 2010. One horse racing organization says it has given more than $1 million to keep it operating.
Using a Freedom of Information Act request, MichCapCon.com has acquired more than 500 pages of documents that show a rare inside look at the policy and politics of how a state-subsidized economic development deal doesn’t pan out as expected.
Ronald Reagan once famously quipped that government economic experts have a simple motto: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” When it comes to horse racing, Michigan government’s economic experts appear able to implement more than one of these seemingly contradictory plans at a time.
The state of Michigan and Wayne County showered millions upon millions of tax dollars on the Pinnacle Race Course in Huron Township in 2008. The track was seen as the start of a tourist attraction that would draw fans from surrounding states and Canada, create thousands of jobs and generate millions in state revenue.
Yet state legislators and state government roadblocks were damaging the very project they were pumping millions of dollars of incentives into, leading to what one expert called a “schizophrenic behavior.”
Gary Tinkle, executive director of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, said his organization has given Pinnacle Race Course more than $1 million to keep it operating. He says the system is unfair as the track competes for the gambling dollar with the state’s lottery.
Yet, the state regulates the horse racing industry.
“If you can’t increase your product to compete with your competitor, you are going to go out of business,” Tinkle said, accusing the state of a “systematic dismantling” of the horse racing industry. “All we ask for is the opportunity to compete fairly for the gaming dollar.”
Pinnacle Race Course has fallen short of its ambitions. Instead of hundreds of jobs, the track may be employing as few as 30 employees. Track officials won’t say how many jobs the track employs, but Huron Township Supervisor Elke Doom said she’s visited the track numerous times and estimates there may be only about 30 full time jobs present.
As reported yesterday, the track is “late in paying property taxes to Huron Township, has reportedly had its water and electricity temporarily turned off for non-payment, and Wayne County officials say the property has liens against it.”
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved the track for up to $48 million in tax incentives over 30 years. Wayne County had an agreement with Post-It Stables, which owns Pinnacle Race Course, for the county to do financing and construction of “at least” $20 million for public infrastructure improvements on the property.
But while one faction of government tried to prop up the industry, other bureaucracy was stifling it.
The state of Michigan had reduced its own staff the past two years that regulates the industry due to budget cuts. That means tracks have to pay for regulatory employees, such as veterinarians, out of their own pockets. That has led to a reduction in the number of live racing dates. Horse racing experts say a healthy track could race five times a week. Instead, Pinnacle held live races only on the weekend this year.
“The reduction of race dates had a negative impact on the racing industry,” said Carl Herstein, an attorney who represents Post It Stables, Inc.
State legislators have repeatedly sat on legislation that would have allowed race tracks to have slot machines on-site, and have refused to allow online betting on races. People placing bets have to come to the track instead of the comfort of their own home.
Two different versions of a “racino” bill were passed by the state House and Senate in 2004 that would have allowed slot machines at race tracks. But the bills died because legislators couldn’t agree on who would get the money, said Jack McHugh, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s senior legislative analyst.
“The state is schizophrenic about gambling,” McHugh said. “On one point lawmakers love gambling because it means loot for the state. On the other side it turns out to who gets the loot and the whole moral issue on gambling comes into play.”
Tom Gantert is now playing both sides. Still on one hand trashing Pinnacle yet now also doing the flip side.
Journalism is supposed to be about Truth. Period.
Writing the real truth of the story and letting those facts and truths be told. Yet Gantert’s words read more like a poor written screenplay and are still exaggerated as in Showering of Taxes and of course the very strong negatives on the story as a whole. Both ripping Pinnacle while exposing what is really wrong with this State. So I still question his motives here. Nevertheless some much needed facts were finally written to what it’s been like for this Industry in this State. But to me there is only ONE story here and that is what Michigan has done to Horse Racing and what is needed for accomplishing a solution so we can continue to not only exist here but to survive.
Personally from his editors note on this article as well, I didn’t think it was a change of heart that’s why the ?
Which makes his first two articles than this one even more Schizoid by him. Why attack Pinnacle in the first place knowing how this State has screwed us over?
It just doesn’t make any sense. The point of Journalism is to write truths on a subject matter. Not put your spin on things. You can tell what he is. A right-wing propaganda machine. It’s in his Bio.
There isn’t two sides to this story. It is what it is. Horse Racing in this State is totally screwed up, made screwed up by this Governor and Legislative Body doing nothing but their best attempts on one hand loving the tax revenue we generate they want, need and love. To the other of having every weapon they can hold to kill us with.
IT IS INSANE.
Tom Gantert is just another tool of that cause. Why a personal attack of The Michigan Economic Development Corporation?
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is supposed to be what their named for. Development of Jobs. Something Horse Racing has had since the beginning of time and they finally understood why shouldn’t they be helping us? Gantert is like Fox Noise putting his twist on stories and that isn’t Journalism. There is only one story here. The first two he put out were purely venomous and unnecessary. What alternatives did Pinnacle have but to strategize how to stay alive. Gantert didn’t undercover some plot of deceit, so why make himself sound as if he did.
Truth is Truth anyway you look at it. But he decided to take it around the block a few times and smear as many as he could along the way before really letting the Truth be told.
Instead of calling himself a Journalist, maybe he can send a few of his blown up Drama’s to the Lifetime channel. They like soap opera stories.
Again I say a big Thank You to The Michigan Economic Development Corporation for indeed changing their minds from instead of killing us to Helping us. Now if we can get the people who were brought up in this latest article by Gantert like our Legislative Body to bring some sanity to this issue. Maybe he won’t feel the need to write articles as if we’ve held meetings to secretly plot to overthrow the modern world. Hell, we just want the same fair shake Michigan has seemed to give other businesses that just got here in the State. Our Horse Racing History is Rich, and it’s Business is more than Worthy to continue.
This damn Industry has more pertinent issues at hand like 120,000 livelihoods that are going to be purposely plunged down the toilet for no sane reason. This is not a dramatization.
Horse Racing has Generated more money here in the last past 77 years than anyone here will ever realize. And it’s about time somebody screams it to them.
The Michigan State Fairgrounds holds the distinction of being the home of one of horse racing’s most famous accomplishments. In 1933 a horse named “Seabiscuit”, was born.
Michigan needs Thoroughbred Horse Racing.
Let the tradition continue!