Dear Board Members
In the process of protecting thoroughbred horsemen from any further reduction in the health and welfare benefits we provide to our members, we recently submitted to the Massachusetts Horse Racing Committee documentation about all the NEHBPA offer’s to its members. We also submitted a restructured plan on Old Age Assistance which has been around since 2005 and long before the RHDF. A revised plan was approved by the NEHBPA board December 2019 to reduce the age of eligibility from 65 to 62 but was not implemented due to the uncertainty of state funding.
We have received a few calls about whether those proposed changes to our Old Age Assistance Program eligibility and distribution policy had already taken effect. To be clear: This updated plan is not currently in effect.
The board-approved plan would expand the number of beneficiaries eligible on age, years of service and the number of starts.
We held off on implementing the changes when the Standardbreds began their current campaign to wipe out the current Thoroughbred split from the Race Horse Development Fund – which supports our health and welfare program, our breeding program and our purses. Without those funds, our health and welfare program are in limbo and our breeding program will suffer even further along with the ability to attract new racetrack investors if our purses for future races are eliminated. There are currently 3 investors actively looking to build a racetrack and return racing to Massachusetts.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is earning tax revenue from the state gaming law that legalized casinos and slot parlors and generated over $225 million in 2019 alone. The explicit intent of that law was to use a percentage of those new revenues to protect the state thoroughbred and standardbred racing industries in Massachusetts from the Race Horse Development Fund (RHDF).
The standardbred campaign to wipe out thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts puts at risk the millions of dollars the industry generates in state and local taxes and jobs; undermines the benefits of our current and future retirees; and further jeopardize our state breeding program.
We will keep you informed of any changes. In the meantime, we are again asking our members to contact the MGC and your House and State Rep to oppose any change in the current RHDF SPLIT that would wipe out our industry.
Thank you in advance of your attention to this issue.
We wish all our members to stay safe and healthy in these turbulent times