Subsidizing the Horsey Set

The state has already spent nearly $700,000 to build the Woodstock Equestrian Center near Beallsville.

Now the county is planning to add more funds.  This coming Tuesday (March 10), the County Council will seek approval to add funding for the project.  The County Planning Board has requested a special appropriation of an additional $750,000 to pay for an outdoor riding ring, terraced seating, a storage area for jumps and maintenance equipment. A “special appropriation” means they can appropriate this with reduced oversight and procedure.  Why?  Because, as the funding request notes, “The County Council declares that this action is necessary to act without delay in the public interest.”

Whenever you hear someone citing “the public interest”, it’s time to reach for your wallet. What’s the “public interest” here? The county cites “recreational opportunities”.  Recreation — for whom?  We’re not talking about playground basketball here.  Riding horses is an expensive hobby, undertaken by folks with a lot of disposable income.   Those who benefit from the center should be paying for it – not the taxpayers. But this is a typical MoCo ploy;  taking money from taxpayers to subsidize the leisure of the rich. I note that some of the funding will come from a state “Community Parks and Playgrounds Grant.”  Somehow, I don’t think the intent of that grant was to provide a playground for wealthy horse owners.

The county justifies the expenditure thus: “A fully developed equestrian center expands the economic impact of the equestrian industry in both the State and County. The equestrian industry contributes in both direct and indirect ways to a majority of Montgomery County’s agricultural income.”   As many have noted, including this blog, we already subsidize the equestrian industry with millions of state dollars annually.  That’s wrong, and more money shouldn’t be taken from taxpayers to subsidize the industry, no matter how much political pull they have.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Budget and Taxes, Corporate Welfare, Edifice Complex, The War on the Poor

3 Comments on “Subsidizing the Horsey Set”

  1. MoreData Says:

    Each time I read something that claims horse owners are wealthy bon-bon eating non-contributors I remember how many children chose a different path because of experience caring for something ‘bigger’ than themselves.

    Riding horses can be tremendously inexpensive and has saved many-a teenager from the “village” full of illegal drug abuse, promiscuity, low self-image, violence, prostitution and generally being lost.

    I should know. I was a very very single mother with no help from the dad, and this activity was the only thing that would have helped my daughter. She worked for her lessons after age 13 and was at the schooling farm 5x weekly. Other girls of various economic backgrounds had the same experience.

    This ‘extravagance’, if it saves one person has the ability to save lots more (and already has). If you had a spirited daughter who was 100% disinterested in sports, you’d kiss the ground that horse walked, when realizing the difference in paths for your child.

  2. Zinzindor Says:

    MD,

    I’m not disputing that riding horses can be a great activity, of tremendous value. I’m disputing the morality of robbing Peter to give Paul recreation.

    I think you’ve missed the essential point of the entry: “Those who benefit from the center should be paying for it – not the taxpayers”. Whether it’s wealthier people — as is the demographic among horse riders, in general — or responsible folks like your daugher, working to pay for her lessons, it isn’t proper to take tax money for this.

  3. MoreData Says:

    I get your point. Tax money for something that benefits a few.

    But please realize that when young people go astray their behavior has an effect on the neighborhoods, and can infect cities and regions.

    A horse center also provides a rare set of outdoor jobs for those who can’t seem to hold down customer service or restaurant work. We need diversity of job types in the work place; everyone is not built to sit in a cube all day (I’ve been plotting my escape for years!).

    I like the idea of a horse park because it solves several issues simultaneously.


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