Thank you for allowing me to have this statement read today. I am in Washington voting, but I feel that the continuation of thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park is an important issue to address.
Monmouth Park and horse racing have an important place in Monmouth County and have provided numerous benefits to the residents of our area. I also understand that our state faces tough economic challenges and that the gaming industry is suffering along with other industries in New Jersey. However, I believe that the state plays an important role in promoting the success of business, encouraging economic growth and protecting the quality of life. This role extends to the horse racing industry in New Jersey where I believe the state must continue to play a strong part.
Monmouth Park provides a unique location for New Jerseyans to enjoy their weekends outside with a beautiful natural setting. Beyond the park itself, Monmouth Park, and those who race there, support one of Monmouth County's greatest assets--open space. With horse farms and fields dedicated to equine use, Monmouth County is able to promote a clean natural environment that not only maintains a high quality of life, but also increases real estate values.
Also, we should not forget the contribution that Monmouth Park offers in the form of jobs. It provides high quality employment opportunities for the local residents and brings valuable tax revenues to the area. Whether it is the training of horses, maintaining of stables, sale of concessions, or the daily operations, the racetrack strengthens the local economy in many ways.
Monmouth Park has also expanded its entertainment offerings beyond horse racing, bringing concerts and festivals to the park. This usage also brings new jobs and business opportunities. Furthermore, in a bold and well designed move, thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park has reduced racing dates and increased purses. Leading the nation with one million dollars in purses a day, Monmouth Park was able to attract new talent and increase public interest, while reducing their dependence on state revenues. I believe that as new options continue to be explored and the racing industry expands in New Jersey, Monmouth Park will continue this growth.
I would urge the Governor and State Legislature to continue state operation of Monmouth Park. That is the best way to safeguard thoroughbred racing at the track.
Some have suggested that the track might be sold or operated by private investors. My fear is that loss of state control could lead to less investment and maintenance of Monmouth Park, and the possible sale of the property, in whole or part, for purposes unrelated to horse racing. The state should not allow any change of status that does not guarantee continued operation of a viable thoroughbred racetrack.
Thank you for your time and interest today. I look forward to continuing to work with you to protect one of Central Jersey's most valuable resources.