Horse racing in New York will “continue unabated tomorrow” even though legislators have not reached the end of a negotiation period that has dragged on for months. N.Y.R.A.’s current contract will expire tomorrow without a replacement, according to a statement by Joe Bruno.
As he has in the past, Bruno blamed Eliot Spitzer and Sheldon Silver.
What does this say for the chances of an on-time budget next year?
UPDATE: The interim agreement will last until January 23, according to Eliot Spitzer’s statement, which also notes, “The Governor’s Office has been in daily contact with representatives of the State Senate, the Assembly and NYRA”.
Here’s Buno’s whole email:
It is apparent that no agreement will be reached today on the future
of the racing franchise in New York. However, while the year is ending at
midnight, racing in New York will continue unabated tomorrow.
It was my hope that we would announce an agreement today between the
Governor and Legislature on legislation to establish a long term solution
for racing. However, those efforts were hindered by NYRA’s intransigence
on remaining issues that would assure accountability and oversight to
prevent the mistakes of the past from occurring in the future.
As I have said all along, it is clear that the old racing model does
not work and that significant changes are needed to make racing even better
for the horsemen, for communities that host the tracks, for employees of
the racing industry and for the fans. That is our goal and it is one we
Negotiations have been very constructive over the last several
weeks. However, we have been unable to get the Governor’s staff to meet
with us since Friday in an effort to resolve remaining differences. For
months I have called for open public leaders meetings to reach an agreement
by the end of the year. The Governor and Speaker have rejected those
calls. Today, I am renewing that call and asking Governor Spitzer and
Speaker Silver to conduct a public meeting on January 2nd to finalize an
agreement. I am confident that our differences can be resolved.
Any new racing model must include a reconstituted NYRA board that is
more representative of the industry, and includes members with racing
expertise as well as others who can assure the integrity of racing in New
York State. And while NYRA will continue to run racing, any franchise
agreement must include reviews every three years to provide greater
accountability, transparency and oversight. We must also put in place
guarantees for the horsemen that purses will be sufficient to ensure the
best quality racing. And we must include community input by host
communities on development and other issues going forward.
In any long term commitment, we must continue to seek the
involvement and input of people with the appropriate skills and expertise
to help us as we pursue development issues and other gaming issues. This
new model is one that can provide a sounder financial deal for taxpayers.
The law we adopted that established the oversight board has assured
the continuity of racing in this state. However, we must redouble our
efforts to resolve whatever outstanding issues remain as soon as possible
to ensure that long into the future, racing fans will be able to experience
the greatest horse racing in the world right here in New York State.