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.
May 28, 2008; 6:15 AM ET
Categories: John Wagner
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