Senate Bill 128, the horse-racing subsidy, hobbled across the Legislative finish line with a fifth of what its Republican sponsors wanted. Prime sponsors Senator Jeff Monroe from Pierre and Representative Drew Dennert from Aberdeen originally asked the Legislature to pour $600,000 into propping up the spring races at their local tracks. Monday’s conference committee brought that figure down to $360,000, but the House and Senate said no. The second conference committee knocked the giddyup subsidy down to $120,000, and that version passed.
The House voted 50–12 to spend tax dollars on running horses around in circles. The sensible nays were Democrats Cwach, Duba, Ring, and Sullivan and Republicans Gross, Hansen, Haugaard, Chris Johnson, Latterell, Mills, Sue Peterson, and Randolph.
The Senate voted 26–6 to subsidize horse racing while only partially solving our nursing home funding shortfall. Nays there included Democrat Kennedy and Republicans DiSanto, Jensen, Nelson, Otten, and Russell.
If our horsey Governor signs SB 128, we taxpayers will all have a patriotic duty to go to the horse races this spring (assuming it stops snowing, and the tracks dry out). We’ve already paid for our tickets with our tax dollars, so we may as well get our money’s worth.