$12m sitting unused in horse fund

$12m sitting unused in horse fund

Money a concern as racing committee sets ‘split’

STATE OFFICIALS SAID on Wednesday that $12 million is currently sitting unused in a fund that provides purses for horse races.

The fund, which relies on gambling revenues that flow to the state, has often been eyed by officials on Beacon Hill looking for money to help balance the budget. So far the money has not been touched, but a five-member committee that partially oversees horse racing is clearly worried about that prospect. They gathered on Wednesday at the offices of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in Boston to sort out how the thoroughbred and harness racing industries should split money flowing into the fund.

The money is currently split 55-45, with 55 percent going to harness racing purses and 45 percent to thoroughbred racing purses. Peter Goldberg, the harness racing representative on the committee, said his industry is doing well and deserves 75 percent of the funds. Frank Frisoli, the thoroughbred representative, favored the status quo, holding out hope that someone would soon open a thoroughbred race track in Massachusetts.

Stephen Reilly, a Springfield attorney who chairs the committee, said he supported a greater percentage of the money going to harness racing because he feared funds going to thoroughbreds could end up going unused. Officials said the overall amount of money in the fund should rise next year when the MGM casino in Springfield opens in September and a portion of its revenues go to support horse racing.

After two hours of often contentious debate, the committee voted 4-1 for a 60-40 split, which was slightly less than the 65-35 split favored by Reilly. The new split will be applied retroactively to races going back to the beginning of 2017. The committee hopes to meet in January to set the split for 2018.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The prospects for a new thoroughbred track are uncertain. Suffolk Downs in East Boston has been sold to a developer, but the operator of the track is continuing to lease the property and has applied to host six race days there in 2018. No one else has filed an application to host thoroughbred races in 2018, although the Stronach Group, a major gambling and horse racing company, and the operators of Suffolk Downs have indicated they might open new tracks in Massachusetts under certain conditions.

Harness racing at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville has rebounded over the last few years, but Penn National, the owner of the track, applied for only 100 racing days in 2018, down from 125 this year.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    There’s enough money to split between harness racing and thoroughbred racing to the point there’s a fear some of the funds could go unused. Meanwhile a report released two years ago clearly shows the state fails to meet its financial obligations to local public schools under the 1993 Education Reform Act…its own law,,,and shortchanges local public schools in the areas of in-district special education and out-of-district special education, English language learning and low income students. That’s how Beacon Hill works.

    • disqus_g7TL42BOco

      Money money money!!!! the public schools budget get money and it mainly goes to increase in teachers wages which are around $100,000 on average.

      Fix the failing schools!! Get to work!! you defeated the question on the ballot! Now get to work !! Teachers just got 5% increase to making $100,000+ summers off+ retirement fund+ Health Care subsidized thanks to all parents who work long hours and get less than $50,000. While we struggle paying bills our kids struggle in a failing educational system in old and sick buildings.

      Oct 18, 2017 8:29amMCAS woes persist as Boston schools achieve little improvement in test scores

      This news are not a surprise to me because for decades the educational system in the Boston Public Schools has deteriorated and systematically kept that way. The changes needed are not happening because of all the red tape created by the MTA BTA and BPS. These people’s talk is all about money and pleasure. making close to $100,000 a year after the 5% increase in salaries to teachers who won’t teach or care for our kids !!
      This is a shame and goes in line to what we the Massachusetts Parents United have said all along, schools education needs to be revamp with a sense of urgency.
      Fire these incompetent teachers and hire educators who are qualified and passionate about teaching our kids meaningful curriculums. Boston is surrounded by the best colleges and universities but the public educational in the Boston urban area is not preparing our kids to go to those great institutions to further their education.
      This is the main reason Charter Schools are making the difference and will continue to do so until BPS gets it’s act together.
      Shame on the superintendent Mr. Chang who knows the issues to the problem but is not moving with a sense of urgency.
      Parents need to get involved in the education of their kids… I urge parents to vote this November and start talking on how to fix our neighborhoods!!!!

      • Mhmjjj2012

        Rodolfo, haven’t heard from you in a while. It’s wonderful to see your concern for hardworking parents making less than $50,000 a year, especially since you’re not one of them. Your newly formed nonprofit group, Massachusetts Parents United, funded by grants from the Longfield Family Foundation, National Philanthropic Trust, Walton Family Foundation, The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation and the Barr Foundation, is really gearing up…first to finance a substance-free website, Boston office space and a high priced media/events contact professional directly on the payroll of a “consultancy specializing in marketing, advertising, public relations and community engagement” and the recent hire of a Vice President of Strategic Planning & Development. Then add in Twitter and Facebook. Not many, if any, parent groups have that kind of public relations clout and great blue tee shirts. Same color as the pro-charter schools Yes on 2 groups. Are you on the same mission? Undermine local public schools by diverting their funding to charter schools?

        • disqus_g7TL42BOco

          As long as we get a report card with a dismal scores !! We will keep on the fight head on because our kids deserve better than what they are getting.. !! You seem to be digging out information and are well aware of who we are!! by the way we do not burned money!! we are investing in empowering parents to learn to demand from the establishment that is taking our taxes and burned it in high salaries to teachers who are not doing their job. As long as BPS and schools in urban areas where our kids are been neglected. We will be there! Is that hard to understand!! YOU might have defeated question 2, but schools remained the same !! I was not about winning question 2! I am about shaking up the education in urban areas because the education in the suburbs is thriving!!! Education it is not thriving in the urban areas.. Yes we got funding to fight the establishment’s status quo!!

          • Mhmjjj2012

            The difference in whether a public school and its students thrive or not is…money, money, money. Well-funded public schools offer their students an exceptional education, which is what all students are entitled to under the Massachusetts Constitution but the State of Massachusetts is not fixing and fully funding the Foundation Budget…the mechanism distributing state aid to local public schools…and without an effective Foundation Budget there can be huge disparities in how much many public schools can offer their students! Diverting essential funding away from public schools to charter schools deprives public school students of their rights under the state’s Constitution. Fix and fully fund the Foundation Budget for exceptional public schools everywhere in Massachusetts.

          • disqus_g7TL42BOco

            I just don’t see it happening, look at the budget, the money and the way is wasted even if fully funded money gets to BPS, it will be wasted because of the red tape BTU and MTA. The money injected into it went to teacher’s salaries!! That is an outrage !! For you and others to make that claim, you do not full me …. those resources will never reach our kids.
            It is all the decisions made in the present and past are the ones that motivate me not to under mind public education, on the other hand, It is time to revamp it from within, but if it doesn’t work to try to change from within, the change has to come from other and better options for the better. Martin Walsh’s statement of the debate at Roxbury a few weeks ago, ” there has not been a new school built in Boston for the past 22 years”.
            On the other hand, have you drive by the new building by charter schools in our neighborhood, Boston Prep, Match, KIpp, and the High School been built by Brooke Charter Schools.
            The big problem is that these schools are making the difference and BPS is filled with incompetent teachers in old sick buildings built with hazardous materials, lead in the drinking water from old lead pipes.
            What a mess!!
            Defeated question 2 !
            gave 5% pay increase to incompetent teachers for what ? for organizing and using kids and parents in BPS to advocate against a better education for themselves.!!
            You can try to sell your cheap ideals to someone else..!! They don’t work for our urban communities and we will keep on the fight for justice in the educational system!!
            Period!!

          • Mhmjjj2012

            For 4 of those 22 years, when no new public schools were built, Marty Walsh was mayor of Boston. During those 4 years Marty Walsh appointed every single school board member, got the school superintendent he wanted and set the budget for the public schools. All the while, too many Boston public schools have no full time nurses, no full time librarians, no air conditioning, etc. What’s incredible is the highly paid administrators are living the good life in the central office: enjoying prime, air conditioned office space. Fighting for justice in the education system starts with the state fixing and fully funding the Foundation Budget. Then cities and towns must meet their obligations to their local public schools. And why didn’t you complain about Brooke Charter School “organizing and using kids and parents?” Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s OK for charter schools to dress their students in blue shirts and force walk them to pro-charter school events.

          • disqus_g7TL42BOco

            You hit the nail right on the head, Martin Walsh !! politicians making the wrong decision to improve education!! That is why is vital to have parents who can have input but the school board and politicians have taken parents for granted and do as they wish… We are advocating to have parents at those meetings seating in the table to make decisions.
            We the parents haven’t been heard quite frankly disrespected. There could be marches for different causes, Brooke organized a march to improve education. BPS orchestrated a march to maintained the status quo of the establishment in providing mediocre education to our kids.!! In comparison !! 2 different causes!! one to improve education by Brooke Charter Schools the other by BPS for the worse.
            The only thing going for the incompetence of the teachers in BPS is the list of lame excuses !!

          • Mhmjjj2012

            I was involved in the parents group when my son was in school and I never…ever…talked about teachers the way you do…never…ever. There is no way Boston Public School teachers deserve to be painted with the broad brush of “incompetence.” And what is the list of “lame excuses?” Lack of adequate funding? Failure to upgrade and/or replace pre-World War II school buildings?

          • disqus_g7TL42BOco

            They are incompetent!!!

          • Mhmjjj2012

            Massachusetts has a state legislature that is so “incompetent” it isn’t even following its own law requiring minimum funding levels for local public schools. The Education Reform Act of 1993 established the Foundation Budget…the mechanism distributing state aid to local public schools…but then the state legislature, along with several governors including the current governor, spent the past twenty-four years ignoring the growing funding disparities among the public school districts serving 351 cities and towns. Besides that, there was no effort to fix and fully fund the Foundation Budget even after a report came out two years ago clearly finding the state is not meeting its financial obligations to local public schools for in-district special education, our-of-district special education, English language learning and low income students. Any real parent group would pick up that ball and run with it but not your group…not Massachusetts Parents United…no MPU is all about undermining public school funding and attacking teachers. Shame on you and your group.

          • disqus_g7TL42BOco

            We won’t stop until we see a change!! a change with a sense of urgency!!!! All this wasted time is just setting back and under minding the education in public urban schools… That is the mission !! not to attack !! to be vocal and show discontent in the handling of the education of our kids !!! That is something to be shameful not proud. Are you proud how poor our kids did on the exam????? we are not !! we are deeply concern you guys trying to sell a lemon !!!

          • Mhmjjj2012

            The only one selling lemons is your nonprofit, Massachusetts Parents United. Your group is top heavy with public relations professionals, recycled charter school advocates and backed by around $1 million in grants from several nonprofits. From what I’ve seen of parents groups…real parents groups…the dollars raised come from fundraisers not grants from foundations with tens of millions, hundreds of millions and billions of dollars and the parents groups can’t afford PR professionals. Your group bills itself as a “parent” group but professionals… “education reform” professionals…are the ones pulling the strings and setting the agenda. The parents in your group are props…simply props…just like the Brooke Charter School students with their blue shirts walking and standing for pro-charter schools events financed by the dark money group Great Schools Massachusetts. .

          • disqus_g7TL42BOco

            I am not ashamed to speak out about public education, undermining public education is to become an obstacle and we are not .. We are looking at the MCAS scores and we are not happy to see how far our kids are falling behind in these failing schools. Shame on you for defending a broken system that needs to be fix. Money is not the only component to to the equation ….. As you said before your grand children went to a school system close to the BPS. not BPS students… I am a the product of BPS like many urban kids who were cheated of a great education… The administration, the teachers, the teachers unions are in it…. If your children or grandchildren would have gone to BPS, I bet you would be the first one out there speaking out !!!
            I am speaking out about the failing system because I went to it.. !!
            Do not expect me to fade away with your attacks… I am about school reform but last night at the BPS meeting that I attended, the same disrespect by the board towards parents concerns continues. They don’t want to hear parents !! We will not fade out!! We will keep the conversation going… You call attacks the true facts, MCAS is the indicator the job is not getting done… No more sweet talk to your attacks.. I offer you and the opponents of our parents to seat at the table to talk about the achievement gap.. We want to create a partnership !! is that hard for you to do ???

          • Mhmjjj2012

            The “broken system that needs to be fixed” is the Foundation Budget…the mechanism distributing state aid to local public schools…and for some strange reason you refuse to acknowledge the state is not meeting its financial obligations to local public schools under the Education Reform Act of 1993. Why is that? And, just out of curiosity, is Massachusetts Parent United paying you for your efforts?

          • disqus_g7TL42BOco

            Why are you shifting to another topic??? I asked you if you want to seat down with me and the parents who have kids in these failing schools…
            I am not saying that the education reform act is meeting all expectations, you are right the state is not meeting their financial obligations but as you are well aware is not the only ingredient to the formula .. there are many other issues involved… I volunteer and are an active member in my community, is that hard to understand, you already know where I work and how much I make. Now you ask this ridiculous question..
            Besides bickering in just about every topic on this website I don’t read anything on Mhjjj2012 getting done in the community. None!! Are you getting paid by BTU? MTA? or BPS? That is the question !!!! The other question I have on the table for you is, Are you interested in a partnership to talk about the issues affecting failing schools in the Boston Public System??????

          • Mhmjjj2012

            Thank you for acknowledging the fact the State of Massachusetts is not meeting its financial obligations to local public schools under the Education Reform Act of 1993. For the record, that’s the first time you wrote those words in your comments with me. It’s wonderful you volunteer. For several decades I volunteered for various groups including parent groups at my son’s school. Those days are over for me due to a serious health issue. I focus my efforts on taking my grandchild to playgrounds, libraries, pumpkin festivals, farms, and wherever else I think she might enjoy. In addition, I take relatives to doctors appointments and chemotherapy treatments whenever they need to go. Anyhow, I have a full plate so I don’t have the physical or emotional energy to take the opportunity to meet with you. If I did then I would. And no, I am not being paid by the BTU, MTA, BPS or any other group to write comments on Disqus or anything else.

      • Mhmjjj2012

        By the way, Massachusetts Parents United has an interesting write up on The Giving Common. I got a kick out of reading: “Needs Statement – Our top needs are: 1) Fundraising: our team doesnt have expertise in fundraising and we need support to connect with additional funders, how to secure multi-year grants, and grant management.” Come on, MPU projected an income of $1.2 million and it’s a brand new group! Whoever wrote the grant applications and landed the big bucks from the Longfield Family Foundation, National Philanthropic Trust, Walton Family Foundation, The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation and the Barr Foundation certainly knew what they were doing. I wonder if any The Giving Common donors would send money to your group knowing you have a high priced media/events contact professional directly on the payroll of a “consultancy specializing in marketing, advertising, public relations and community engagement” and a Vice President of Strategic Planning & Development. It looks like MPU has money to burn.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    The Hechinger Report has an article “How well does your state support children with dyslexia?” that states “For more than 40 years, federal law has required schools to identify and evaluate students with dyslexia and to provide them with an appropriate education. But in many states across the country that’s not happening.” Scientists estimate between 5 and 12 percent of American kids have dyslexia. So, how’s Massachusetts doing when it comes to students with dyslexia? Incredibly, Massachusetts is one of only eight states that have taken no action…none whatsoever…but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, the State of Massachusetts won’t even comply with its own law…the Education Reform Act of 1993…that requires the state to fix and fully fund the Foundation Budget…the mechanism distributing state aid to local public schools.