A group of Republican delegates have introduced a bill to dissolve the greyhound breeders fund, giving lawmakers an additional $14 million to use to balance this year’s budget.
Nine members of the state House of Delegates are backing the proposal to get rid of the Greyhound Breeding and Development Fund, led by Republican Del. Cindy Fritch from Monongalia County.
The fund is made up of about $14 million from table game and video lottery bets at the state’s racetrack casinos and is used to help pay for dog breeding and purses, or bet winnings.
A similar measure successfully made it through the Legislature during this year’s regular session, but was vetoed by Gov. Jim Justice.
Fritch said she’s reintroducing the measure to prevent deep cuts in next year’s budget, specifically to higher education.
“If we pass this bill and the governor acts differently, we will not need to cut higher education. We can make better revenue and expenditure decisions,” Fritch said in a floor speech Monday.
Although estimations have varied, Wheeling Republican Del. Erikka Storch said getting rid of the fund would cost her district some 1,100 jobs. She hopes if the measure is approved during the special session, the governor will once again be on the industry’s side.
“He recognizes the job loss in one area in the state that’s actually doing well would be a devastating blow to the region," Storch said Monday, "and we don’t need any more people out of work. We need people to be working.”
The bill has been sent to the House Finance Committee.