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"Uncouple Decoupling" Sunshine State News Urges Florida Legislators

It makes no sense that a governor and lawmakers who are justifiably proud of the Enterprise Florida/Department of Economic Opportunity programs that brought thousands of jobs to Florida in the last five years would think it's OK to throw away a vast, venerable and valuable industry like horse breeding, training and competition.“Maybe it’s just been a long comedy of errors,” Florida Standardbred Breeders’ and Owners Association Treasurer George Birkhold told Publisher Nancy Smith this week in an interview.

“All you have to do is look at the Marion County horse racing economic impact study from 2015,” he said. “In Marion alone, we’re talking $2.6 billion and 19,000 jobs. What happens to all those people and jobs when races dwindle,  when little by little — but faster than anyone can imagine — horse breeders and owners stop coming to Florida because they can’t race their horses? In fact, it’s already happening. Horsemen are afraid of the future here. They know what’s going on here. We’re seeing a 12 percent to 15 percent breeding drop this year.”

In her “I Beg To Differ” column this week, Smith implored legislators not to sign off on the Seminole Compact until they “uncouple decoupling.”

“Demand that whoever sold the governor and his team on the financial benefit to Florida of including decoupling in the first place be required to prove it,” Smith wrote.

Read her entire column here.