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Slots Rhetoric, Pro and Con, Heats Up

Summer has yet to arrive, but the rhetoric over November's referendum on legalizing slots in Maryland is already heating up.

Yesterday the ballot issue committee supporting slots put out a press release claiming the ballot issue committee opposing slots "endorses higher taxes" and "also proposes cutting essential public services."

What evidence is there for this?

For Maryland For Our Future, the pro-slots group, cited a story on the Web site of WMDT, a TV station on the Eastern Shore, that covered a rally last week by Maryland United To Stop Slots.

The story said that while Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has said slots revenue is needed to avoid tax increases and spending cuts, Hilary Spence, the treasurer of the anti-slots group, said this of slots revenue: "It's really a tax on the poor, and I think people need to tighten their belts or unfortunately raise taxes."

Spence, reached yesterday, said she had no recollection of making the comments. But, she said, even if she had said them in some context, she was not advocating tax increases or cutting essential services. "Certainly that's not what we're advocating at all," she said. "It's too bad people take any kind of words and run with it in a direction like this to suit their purpose."

For its part, Spence's group yesterday trumpeted two defections by local business groups from the recent endorsement of the referendum by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

On Friday, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce voted to remain neutral on the issue. And on Thursday, the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce came out against the referendum, with Mark Leiner, its president, calling slots "a scourge."

"Opposition to slots from Frederick County and Ocean City is part of the larger, state-wide movement against slots casinos in Maryland," Scott Arceneaux, a senior adviser to Marylanders United To Stop Slots, said in a release put out by his group.

By John Wagner  |  May 28, 2008; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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The more money you give O'Malley, the more he will want. Slots will not slake his thirst for tax increases.

Posted by: give them more and they'll want even more | May 28, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Compliments to Governor O'Malley for trusting the people of Maryland to vote on the slots issue. We will all have our chance to be represented at the voting booth.

Now, let us vote on whether any more of our tax dollars will be wasted on the $3,100,000,000 ICC toll road.

Posted by: Donny | May 28, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

You know, the Democratic Primary is only 15 months away (September '09).

Will Doug consider a challenge? Is Franchot content being Comptroller? Is there a County Executive or two who feel the need to step-up?

Let's face it, our Governor has been a supreme letdown. The only stand he has taken in the face of controversy is paying for the ICC. Bay be damned, death to the death penalty moratorium, same sex doesn't deserve equal rights. It's all lip service.

After one lame term, it's time to look for another leader. 1'Malley doesn't cut it.

Posted by: PG'er | May 28, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think all of this rhetoric about tax increases is really off-base. We should all probably remember that this slots issue -- which in the past gridlocked Annapolis for years -- is really about closing that lousy deficit that was passed on by the last guy. It's also about making sure we can fund and support education and better schools for our kids, which will really determine our future.

Posted by: Cathy | May 28, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Why can't we have slots in Maryland? Look at Las Vegas and Atlantic City, they are doing just fine. We already have bingo halls and fire stations with these "ticket" machines that are the same as slots and they are making money off of them. Why can we not do the same for our state to help increase money for our schools and other expenses that us tax payers should not have to have a tax increase to pay. I don't see what all the fuss is about. So there will be more traffice, big deal. Tell that to the families buying thier 15 and 16 year olds a car when they have no where to go, or to the people with several cars in their family and no one car pools or uses metro. To me the "RICH" do not want slots in maryland, most of us gamble in some way shape or form and if you take a vote then you will see the majority of us are not against it. It should be left up to the people not the clown they have in office pulling the strings for the rest of us. How much money I wonder is being bribed for a thumbs down vote. Bottom line, someone is getting paid to keep slots out of Maryland and it makes no sence. Wake up and smell the taxes people cause without new revenue for the county, we will only see more tax increases.

Posted by: Michelle | May 29, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Michelle: Maybe you should take some of the money you're willing to gamble away and purchase a dictionary.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 29, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Michelle has made some points and an interesting point of view I had not considered. However, I respectfully disagree that Maryland should aspire to mimick Atlantic City, NJ and Las Vegas NV.

They may be great places to gamble, but I would not want to live or raise a family there. I think thats the point and its a good thing that we actually get to vote on this. Those who want to live in an AC or LV environment can for "for" and those who prefer Maryland how it is can vote "against".

Democracy is good.

Posted by: Donny | May 30, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow, nameless person who commented on my statement, out of everything I said all you can do it tell me to buy a dictionary. That is sad!! Instead of throwing around insults why don't you look at the problem and comment on that, don't you have anything better to do then spell check during the day?

And I do agree with you Donny I don't want to live in AC or Vegas either, but I don't think even with the vote to allow gambling here in MD that we would allow our state to mimic AC and Vegas, but we can have a small place like Dover for example to help generate funds and bring some of that money into Maryland. Not a big Casio, just a small place where you can play slots. We could really generate alot of money for our state by having some slots here. We have alot of people traveling to Dover and Atlantic City that can just spend thier money close by. There is no need for them to help another state just our own :) Thanks for you respectable comment.

Posted by: Michelle | June 3, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

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