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Ehrlich Calls Slots Referendum "Bad Policy"

After spending the better part of his administration and much of his political capital pushing for slot machine gambling, former governor Bob Ehrlich is opposed to the referendum that could finally bring slots to Maryland.

On his weekend radio show on WBAL (1090 AM), Ehrlich said the Nov..4 ballot question is "bad policy. This is not my bill; it's not anywhere close to my bill."

The majority of callers to the show, which was largely devoted to the slots issue, bashed the referendum.

Ehrlich said he still supports slots, but he echoed the view of many GOP lawmakers who argue that the proposed amendment to the state constitution would leave no flexibility should lawmakers want to increase or reduce the number of machines. The referendum would allow as many as 15,000 slot machines at five locations.

Ehrlich, though, said he is not actively campaigned against the ballot question.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  September 29, 2008; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  At the 2008 Conventions , Lisa Rein  
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Right, it's only good policy, when he proposes it.

Posted by: Good policy | September 29, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Post's policy of writing about slots every day and never about property taxes when the people of Montgomery County are much more concerned about property taxes than slots is BAD poilicy. We are going to get a 15% to 20% property tax hike next year on top of this year's 14% increase. Vote FOR B! Save Oour Homes!

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Broker Robin Realty | September 29, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I stand with many of my neighbors and those elected officials who oppose establishing slots and big-time gaming as a foundation of Maryland’s State budget and financial future. A broad and serious public discussion about the significant costs and dubious benefits of slots and additional gaming in Maryland is desperately needed, but has not taken place.

It should be clear to all that the slots and more gambling in Maryland are no panacea for the State’s serious budget deficit, next year or in years following. The exaggerated revenues would not be available for years and the promised support for State education programs will be significantly reduced by the share of money that will go to the powerful out-of-state gambling interests and Maryland’s horse racing industry which has done little, on its own dime, to increase its popularity in the state.

It should also be clear to all that the social costs of slots and more gambling in the State would be great—gambling addiction, alcoholism, crime, domestic abuse, bankruptcy, and foreclosures—and that the related fiscal costs must be subtracted from the inflated estimates of revenues. Funding children’s education in Maryland should not be tied to the popularity of slot machines.

Maryland residents need to have an in-depth conversation and debate about the difficult, but common sense, solutions to the State’s fiscal imbalance—solutions which must include budget cuts and revenue enhancements, including increased taxes on alcohol and fuels. Slots are bad idea for Maryland. I hope that Maryland residents will vote “No” in November.

Posted by: Alan Bowser | September 29, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Erlich is irrelevant. He will fade away with all the other Bush-era Republicans like a bad dream.

Posted by: Donny | September 30, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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