ATLANTA – The Georgia House of Representatives passed House Resolution 643 on Thursday, April 14, 2011, with a vote of 157 to 7. Introduced by State Representative Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), this legislation creates the House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry.
“Expanding our state’s horse industry is a simple way to bring jobs to our state, jobs that are severely needed by the thousands of Georgians who continue to struggle to find employment,” said Rep. Geisinger. “The number of jobs created and revenue generated through expanded horse racing in our state would give Georgia the economic boost we need. Thirty-eight other states already reap the $39 billion in economic benefits that horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering bring to our country. Recent budget cuts have made it clear that Georgia can no longer afford to miss this economic opportunity.”
Under HR 643, the House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry will be tasked with studying the affects that horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering would have on Georgia’s economy. This study would include any broad financial benefits for the state and Georgians from additional employment opportunities, capital investments, and real profits from increased breeding, raising, and quartering of horses. The committee will publish a report of its findings and recommendations, which may include suggestions for proposed legislation. This report will be submitted to the Georgia House of Representatives by December 31, 2011.
The Committee will be comprised of six members appointed by the Speaker of the House. Three members will be selected from the Georgia House of Representatives, two members will be other citizens of the state, and one member will be an individual involved in the horse racing industry. The Speaker of the House will designate one of the state representative committee members to serve as chairperson of the committee.
The House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry will build on the work of the 2009 House Special Equine Study Committee. This 2009 study committee heard from numerous equine experts, all of whom testified to the economic benefits that Georgia would experience if the state expanded its equine industry by allowing horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering in the state.
Dr. Fisch, President of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, explained to the 2009 study committee that each horse on a race track creates seven jobs. The average horse meet will have at least 800-1,000 horses, thus creating approximately 7,000 jobs per meet. Some of these jobs necessary for each horse include trainers, groomers, jockeys, drivers, riders, and veterinarians. Other employment expansion would also include racetrack employees and support for industries such as hotels and restaurants.
Other expert witnesses that testified before the 2009 study committee included the President of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Animal Science Director for the University of Georgia, the Executive Vice President and CEO of the United States Trotting Association, the Chairman of the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Equine, the Executive Director of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority, the Chairman of the Equine Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, and several others.
The 2011 House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry will pick up where the 2009 House Special Equine Study Committee left off by conducting further in-depth reviews of the effect that an expanded equine industry would have on the state of Georgia.
A link to HR 643 can be found by clicking here.
For information about Georgia’s existing horse industry please visit: http://www.geepforgeorgia.com/.
Representative Harry Geisinger represents the citizens of District 48, which includes portions of Fulton County. He was first elected into the House of Representatives in 1969-1974, and was then was sworn in again in 2004. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee. He also serves on the MARTOC, Natural Resources & Environment, and Transportation committees.