(Jan 29) Bill would shift $250 million from horse racing to school districts

By Jeff Frantz | jfrantz@pennlive.com 
on January 29, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Since money from slots started pumping up purses for horse racing in Pennsylvania, the owners who took home a payday have included a sheik, a prince from the Middle East, millionaires and billionaires.

Proposed legislation would take nearly all of the money from the state’s Horse Racing Development Fund and redirect it to school districts that receive less than 35 percent of their funding from the state. Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery County) said his bill would provide relief for local property taxpayers and address the imbalance in the state’s school funding formula.

Stephens’ bill would shift $250 million from the development fund to school districts receiving less than average state funding.

“The bottom line is only people with means can get into horse racing and they’re the ones winning these purses,” Todd said. “Right now, we have to prioritize our spending. We have a constitutional obligation to our children — frankly I think we have a moral obligation to our children as well — to provide them with a thorough and efficient school system and …. we are not doing that.”

Many of the school districts that would benefit are in counties that have grown since 1991, when the state froze the school funding formula. Most of the districts in the midstate would benefit. In Adams County three of six districts would receive extra funding; six of eight Cumberland County districts, five of 10 Dauphin County districts, four of six Lebanon County districts, 13 of 16 Lancaster County districts, 15 of 16 York County districts.

Full story: Horseshoes or homeroom? Bill would shift $250 million from horse racing to school districts Jeff Frantz, The Patriot-News, 1/29/14

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