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Wilson to McGuinty: Back off on Slots at Racetracks Program

(February 17, 2012) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson is demanding that Dalton McGuinty back off any plans he has to end the Slots at Racetracks Program, an initiative that saved Ontario’s horse racing industry and creates thousands of rural agricultural jobs.

“Dalton shouldn’t go after the horse industry just because he screwed up the books of the province,” said Wilson.  “This industry creates jobs and puts $261 million into the provincial treasury every year.  Horse people have had nothing to do with creating Dalton’s fiscal disaster.”

Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry employs an estimated 60,000 Ontarians and pays a total of $1.5 billion dollars of wages and salaries each year in Ontario.  The average direct wage exceeds $50,734 annually – one of the highest industrial wages in Ontario.

Over the last decade annual expenditures by the horse racing industry has increased by 67% to $2 billion dollars in 2010 from $1.2 billion in 2000. Approximately 80% of this expenditure occurs in Ontario’s rural agriculture communities where it provides much needed economic growth.

“This program effectively reversed the decline of the horse industry,” said Wilson, who was a member of the Cabinet that created the program.  “Dalton should go after the crooks that are stealing our healthcare dollars and not job creators in the horse industry.”


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