AUSTIN – Texas Public Policy Foundation Vice President of Research and Director of the Center for Economic Freedom Bill Peacock issued the following statement on the Texas Racing Commission’s administrative funding:

“When we think about unaccountable government, we usually think of Washington, D.C. and agencies like the E.P.A. Unfortunately, Texas is not immune from the problem.

“The latest example is the Texas Racing Commission. As in many cases, ‘regulatory capture’ has led to a commission doing the bidding of industry; in this case, passing a rule allowing race tracks to operate slot machines. Of course, the Texas Constitution prohibits the use of slot machines without legislative approval, so the commission labeled them historical racing machines to get around this inconvenient constitutional complication.

“Despite both the Legislature and the courts telling the commission it has exceeded its authority, the industry and the commission have decided to play a game of chicken by refusing to repeal the rule that authorized the machines and closing down the commission—and the industry.

“While there is now a temporary truce, the long-term resolution to this situation is simple: the agency can back down, the courts can defend the constitution, or the governor can replace the members whose terms have expired and who continue to support the expansion of gambling. Any of these would avert another shutdown.

“The Legislature, governor, and the courts should let the commission, the industry, and the people of Texas know that the commission’s tactics won’t work and in Texas we still operate under the rule of law.”

Bill Peacock is vice president of research and director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

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