Shutdown of NY Tracks, Agencies AvertedBy Tom PreciousUpdated: Monday, June 14, 2010 12:39 PM
Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010 12:39 PMEmail A Friend
A tentative deal among state senators has ended talk of a shutdown of the New York state government, keeping racetracks from having to suspend their operations.
Enough Republican senators will end their weeks of boycotts of weekly emergency appropriation bills to permit the state to remain open, despite a threatened June 25 shutdown.
The shutdown threat began last week when two Bronx Democratic senators said they would not vote for what is now the 11th weekly emergency bill needed to pay for basic state services since the state began its fiscal year April 1 without an annual budget in place.
Gov. David Paterson warned agencies last week to prepare for the shutdown of operations at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, June 15.
State Racing and Wagering Board officials told the Blood-Horse over the weekend that a shutdown of the state would close racetracks because state workers who serve in such posts as racing stewards and equine drug testers would be furloughed.
It was not certain whether racetrack casinos would be hit by any shutdown, officials said at the time, because the state Lottery regulates the facilities and could have been also been told to close. Racino operators later said they were told they would not have to close.
One lone Democrat–Sen. Ruben Diaz from the Bronx—on the morning of June 14 was still insisting he would be voting against the emergency bill. The Democrats have 32 members and the Republicans have 30. It takes 32 votes to pass a bill in the Senate.
But several Republican senators signaled hesitation about being involved in any effort that would force a shutdown. Much of the pressure on the Republicans was aimed at two Republicans from the Albany area, which is home to tens of thousands of state workers. One of those Republicans, Sen. Hugh Farley of the Schenectady area, said June 14 he will vote for the emergency bill. Democratic leaders insisted there will be enough votes this afternoon to pass the bill.
It’s truly sad that the once great New York racing industry is at the mercy of politicians in Albany…