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As Mayor of Prescott Valley, I am proud of our thriving community. We have a diverse community with residents from across the nation choosing to relocate to our area. From outdoor recreation to exploring local shops, to enjoying a day at Arizona Downs, we have something for everyone.
Tourism is the lifeblood of our community. With great year-round weather and entertainment, we as a community value all of our assets that help businesses and families thrive. One of those important attractions is Arizona Downs, one of the state’s go-to racetracks for summer events.
Horseracing has been an important industry to Arizona since statehood, representing our state’s ranching and old west roots. For rural Arizona, ranching, breeding, and farming are embedded in our community and a local economic driver.
Arizona Downs is part of our state’s history and as we continue to grow and thrive, we must also modernize the industries that are at our core. For the past decade, Arizona’s horse racing industry has suffered due to increased competition from other states. As efforts to bolster the local horse racing industry have increased across the nation, Arizona has lagged behind. Since 2004, Arizona horse tracks have seen live race attendance drop 45% and parimutuel handles drop $55M a year. This decline in revenue impacts every small business owner and employee that is involved in race days. Arizona has a lot to offer and can easily become a national destination for horse racing. The Arizona Legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 1794 which will support Arizona horse racing and generate more than $100M in new state tax revenues. By implementing Historic Horse racing in the state, purses will increase from $80,000 to $300,000, attracting horses and revenues from California. It will also attract $300M in capital investments and help create nearly 4,000 new jobs.
It’s time for the legislature to act and support the horse racing industry. For far too long the needs of rural Arizona have been ignored. Now, we have a real opportunity to help rural small business owners and create additional revenue for the state. This is a win-win for all of Arizona; let’s make Historic Horse Racing a reality.
Kell Palguta, Mayor of Prescott Valley.