WV SB641 & HB4625 are Bad Policy - Against Greyhounds, Jobs, & Short Changes WV Growth
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The WV Senate pre-maturely sent SB641 to the Senate floor & onto the House without considering or hearing from the constitutes that it will most greatly effect. This bill will defund and decouple greyhound racing requirements from the tracks that obtained their slot machines as a result of their racing roots (read that is what the voters expected them to be). The bill was heard in the committee but without hearing the voice of the greyhound community that will lose over 1700 jobs and 66 West Virginia Farms.
WV House, likewise sent to the Senate HB 4625, a defunding bill to reallocate money designed to support business development and farming community to state road budget agenda.
These bill's intentions will take the money promised by legislature to build and develop a diversified, non consumable agricultural industry and put the farming development fund into the state's general ledger. However, the unemployment dollars paid out to those displaced will essentially render the bill ineffective within a year, and actually begin to incur a cost due to lost taxable income off of the wagering dollars, unemployment expenses, and lost revenue towards the upkeep that money assisted with including educational and parking infrastructures.
The Senate and the House were rash in their decisions to move SB641 & HB 4625 forward without education. They should have taken the time to consider hearing the arguments from the individuals that will lose their livelihoods. These folks will become another contributing statistic to a staggering 53% unemployment, face over 26 weeks of collecting benefits while the state fails to retrain them to fulfill another form of employment. Farms and businesses will be forced out of business and will no longer contribute to the lagging WV economy.
If West Virginia has a strategic goal for the future, it should be to make good long term investments and stop short changing jobs, farmers, employers, citizens and industries. Give the greyhound industry an opportunity to share in the same spirit and redevelop, reinvest and revitalize West Virginia. Vote AGAINST SB 641 & HB 4625.
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