McConnell’s Farm Bill Priority: Tax Breaks For Thoroughbred Race Horse Owners

mcconnell.gifThis week, Congress is expected to take up a $300 billion farm bill, which President Bush has vowed to veto. The AP reports that the bill “contains something for everyone” — including the following important project tucked within the massive bill:

A tax break for horse owners was included by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Politico’s Crypt explains:

The measure would essentially allow race horse owners — who pay millions for Triple Crown contenders — to write down their investment over four years. … Senate aides say it will cost between $60 million and $70 million.

McConnell’s measure is a shameless ploy for votes in Kentucky. His spokesman claimed, “it’s the largest agricultural product in Kentucky.” But the tax break would most likely apply only to the very wealthy; after all, the average cost of training and racing one racehorse is $30,000 per year — which does not include purchase price of the horse, anywhere from $12,000 to millions.

The millionaire-only earmark is just McConnell’s latest attempt to have it both ways on pork barrel spending. After securing nearly $195 million in earmarks for FY2008, he voted in favor of a one-year earmark moratorium in March. Yet his “eleventh hour” decision earned him criticism that he was “playing both sides by not lobbying for the measure, which ensured that it failed, while voting for the amendment in order to insulate himself from attacks on the right.”