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March 20, 2018

MHC testimony on HB-1793 - Creation of a State Debt - Baltimore County - Maryland Equine Education Center

March 12, 2018

House Appropriations Committee
Maryland General Assembly
Annapolis, Maryland
Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair

Re: HB-1793 - Creation of a State Debt - Baltimore County - Maryland Equine Education Center- SUPPORT

Dear Chairwoman McIntosh and Members of the Committee:

The Maryland Horse Council (MHC) is a membership-based, umbrella trade association of the entire horse industry in Maryland. Our membership includes over 40 breed, interest and discipline associations, plus horse farms and stables, horse-related businesses, and horse owners representing all facets of the Maryland equestrian community, from the owners of race horses to the owners of trail horses or just beloved retired companion horses. As such, we represent over 30,000 Marylanders.

The horse industry and related equestrian pursuits in Maryland are exploding in growth and popularity. A recent Sage Policy Report determined that industry spending increased about 20% between 2010 and 2015. We have a huge population of horse owners and riders. The equestrian segment is the second largest component of our agricultural economy. With an equine heritage dating back to the 17th century, we have more horses per square mile than any state in the Union, representing 35 breeds and 40 disciplines. And we participate! Year round, the entire state hums with shows, clinics, seminars, conferences and events dedicated to and attended by horse lovers. And there is vast potential in the state for growing the industry even more. A 2016-2017 survey by the University of Maryland Institute for Governmental Service and Research (IGSR) found that at least one member in 51.9 percent of Maryland households is interested in horses. The Maryland Equine Education Center will support and complement this vital and growing segment of our economy and community.

Therefore, MHC supports HB-1793 - Creation of a State Debt - Baltimore County - Maryland Equine Education Center, and urges the Committee to give it a favorable report.

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