NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 9, 2013

Seabrook races to save dog track jobs

Park owner says bill could lead to closure

(Continued)

“I’ll work to kill the bill in committee,” Khan told Keeland.

Members of the Ways and Means Committee will vote to recommend or reject the bill before passing it along to other committees and the full House. Khan said a vote of “inexpedient to legislate” from the Ways and Mean Committee could stall the bill’s momentum when it gets to the House floor for a full vote. If the bill dies in the House, it will never be heard in the Senate.

According to the bill’s fiscal note, the state will lose money if Seabrook Greyhound Park shuts down. The Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission estimated that as introduced, if the bill becomes law, the state would lose $190,926 annually starting in fiscal 2014.

But gaming revenue isn’t the only income the cash-strapped Granite State stands to lose if Seabrook Greyhound Park “goes down the tubes,” Keeland said. Her company pays business profits and business enterprise taxes. In addition, ancillary state tax revenue, including monies generated when patrons purchase food, liquor or cigarettes at the park or gas when they travel in the state, would be hit. And rising unemployment is never good for an economy, for it drains state and local resources, she said.

The impact on the town of Seabrook would also be huge. Not only are many of the park’s employees from Seabrook and neighboring towns, but selectmen said Seabrook Greyhound Park contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to town coffers.

Tax collector Lillian Knowles said the track paid more than $143,000 in property taxes in 2012.

According to Seabrook treasurer Oliver Carter Jr., Seabrook Greyhound Park kicks in between $300 to $400 a day to the town coffers. The town gets a $300 daily payment Monday through Saturday and $400 on Sundays. On days when the handle — or total wagered — is more than $300,000, $50 is added to the daily payment, Carter said.

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