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Commissioner Miller Concerned Funding Dispute at Racing Commission Puts Texas Equine Industry at Risk (9/1/2015)

AUSTIN - Attending the American Quarter Horse Association World Show, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today urged members of the state’s Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to restore funding to the Texas Racing Commission (TRC). Withholding funding from TRC puts Texas’ $3 billion equine industry at further risk and would irreparably damage Texas’ already-fragile horse industry with the closure of Texas’ existing race tracks.

“There is no horse racing in Texas without the Texas Racing Commission,” Commissioner Miller said. “Upwards of 100,000 Texans who work directly or indirectly in the racing industry would lose their jobs, and I’m just not okay with that. These folks will be forced to move to other states, and this will further strain the equine industry in our state.”

Commissioner Miller said that the dialogue between some members of the LBB and TRC is the result of a commission member’s decision to allow so-called historical racing at Texas race tracks.

“A Texas court has already ruled that the members of the Texas Racing Commission did not have the authority to approve historical racing in Texas without legislative approval,” Commissioner Miller said. “That case is now under appeal and should be decided by the courts in the next several months. In the meantime, they are putting tens of thousands of Texas jobs at further risk.”

Commissioner Miller urged the LBB to immediately fund the racing commission so that no tracks are forced to close.

“Texas is the nation’s leader in horse production, and as Agriculture Commissioner, I have the responsibility to keep it that way,” Commissioner Miller said. “There is simply too much at stake for this to go unresolved.”