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Franchot, Slots Advocates Clash

Advocates on both sides of the debate over slot machine gambling in Maryland stepped up their rhetoric today on the eve of new revenue estimates that are expected to paint a bleak picture of state finances.

First, Comptroller Peter Franchot, an ardent slots opponent, told the Committee for Montgomery this morning that revenue projections his office will release for the upcoming two fiscal years "will offer a sobering window into the condition of the Maryland economy."

He railed against the administration of fellow Democrat Gov. Martin O'Malley for pushing a "record tax hike" last year and said slots will only worsen the state's budget problems with increased crime, "traffic, corruption, addictions and bankrupcies."

He said it is time Marylanders "get serious about spending reform" instead of passing November's referendum to authorize up to 15,000 slot machines.

But Franchot did not offer any detailed suggestions on where to reduce spending, an omission not lost on slots advocates, who held a press conference a few hours later to denounce the comptroller and other gambling opponents for avoiding the politically thorny work of cutting.

"They don't want to talk about those difficult choices that will have to made if this doesn't pass," said Fred Puddester, chairman of For Maryland for Our Future, a pro-slots group. "Franchot has spent a lot of time looking at budgets and analyzing them. I don't think it should be difficult for him to come up with a list of spending cuts."

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 8, 2008; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein , Slots  
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Franchot represents all that is wrong with politics at the moment; disparage the proposals of those who attempt to do something constructive/reasonable to address the state's real fiscal problems while putting forth zero of substance in its stead. Isn't it about time for this minor league politico to crawl back under the rock from whence he came?

Posted by: mrosen3 | September 8, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

As a citizen I oppose slots. They are not the true economic solution.

I look at the Port of Baltimore and see unused potential and failed economic opportunity.

i would love to work on a committee looking for cuts. instead of playing politics with cuts, let's not play the education and health care game and let look at these programs.

Posted by: RobGreg | September 8, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen one specific piece of information about how much money will be generated by the legalization of slot machines in Maryland. Those who support the referendum in the fall haven't provided solid numbers about how much money from the slots will go to the state versus how much will be kept by the companies that own the machines and the locations that will house them. We get broad promises about how slots will save us--well if the lottery didn't save us and keno didn't save us, how are we to believe that yet another gambling opportunity in the state will have any better impact?

Shame on the news organizations also--they haven't dug up the information that we need to make an informed choice about slots. Since the information is so shady, I believe this is probably a really bad deal for the state. I'm voting NO!!

Posted by: Slots Are Not the Answer | September 8, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Is there something wrong with the air or water in Maryland that if slots are approved (hopefully) there will be a rampant rise in crime? I ask this because no other locale where slots exist has seen this happen. What makes Maryland so unique in this aspect?

Posted by: arcondoc | September 8, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Arcondoc, where do you get your twisted data? The crime rate in Jefferson County WV jumped by 83% between 2004 and 2006! Yes, that's where Charles Town is located. And yes, that's crime RATE, meaning adjusted for population.

Why does Tom Perez deny this obvious data from the West Virginia State Police? Orders from Headquarters? Heaven forfend!

Posted by: SickaMilla | September 8, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm one citizen who would prefer judicious cuts in the state budget to the state further prostituting itself by expanding legalized gambling.

Posted by: sj | September 8, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Might as well have slot machines and keep the money here in Maryland instead of it going to other states. Some people are going to play the one armed bandits, no matter what.

Posted by: TWOTIMETUNA | September 8, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I was working in Baltimore several years ago when the slot proponents made their first run at legalizing slots in Maryland. My work brought me directly in contact with them, and I remember thinking these sharks in their $1,000 pinstripes and deep tans are from out of state and they're splashing a lot of money around. Some politicians were influenced, but fortunately more were not, and the attempt failed. As a youngster I remember visiting family in Southern Maryland and asking what are those funny machines with the arms on the side? I was told they were slots, but that they were being phased out because families were being hurt by the gambling loses of their loved ones. Now here we go again, with a new set of politicians, but the same dynamics. Bottom line: Vice leads to corruption, and Maryland voters should say no.

Posted by: Maryland Memories | September 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

He said it is time Marylanders "get serious about spending reform"...

We can start getting serious by throwing out the tax and spend Dems in the statehouse... including Franchot who gripes and complains but comes up with no ideas to solve the problem.

Gov. O'Money cried Poor! Poor!! Poor!!! last year and raise taxes to cover the shortfall he created. (Ehrlich left a surplus in the treasury.) And now we're short again??

The wolf is at the door of the little Annapolis piggies.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | September 8, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

So, if we pass slots, what will WV,PA and DE do? They, who are addicted to slot moneys, will up the ante and start having roulette,craps and poker. So, then MD will have to follow suit. What we need to decide is if we want to be in the gambling business and deal with all of the issues that come with that?

Posted by: Kinsman Bob | September 8, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

from what I can tell no one is offering real plans for budget cuts. citizens can and will not tolerate more taxes personal or otherwise. I don't like slots, but it appears that it will be part of the solution. perhaps both sides can take the money the were going to spend in campaigns on this issue and donate it to the state. now that would be helpful.

Posted by: no real ideas | September 8, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Question B will put a damper on Montgomery County spending, making it more difficult to exceed the charter property tax limit. We got a 14% property tax increase this year on top of the largest tax increase in state history. Next year we get an even larger property tax increase. Vote FOR B! Save Our Homes!

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Broker Robin Realty | September 8, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

to funny... 5 years now... 600 million per year... 3 billion dollars... LOST....

no.. slots are not the Silver Bullet... but 600 million per year is a lot of money just the same..

Revenue Generated... Jobs created... Maryland Dollars staying in state..

and how strange...

Crime actually generates revenue.. from taxes collect because of new police officers needed... to Federal funds supplied.. courts needing to expand... etc etc....

and here is the main...

600 million per year... not being collected...Talk of spending cuts.. reduced services...etc etc` etc...

and what about higher taxes..????

at least with slots... the revenue is collected from people willing to risk a few bucks... (i did in july and won 6,000)

It is not a Blanket Tax Hike... a forced reduction in every persons spendable income.. it is entirely voluntary...VOLUNTARY....

The Moral Minority really needs to stop trying to Protect People From Themselves..

and for the rest of the Opponents... DON'T PLAY THEM......

Posted by: Talontbo | September 9, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Franchot is just one of those Leftists who can't seem to learn anything from past mistakes so he continues to repeat the errors of his ilk.

Let's try this again: Raised taxes and tax revenues drop as your tax rates choke the economy.

Repeat as needed until it penetrates your thick Marxist skull.

Posted by: Rufus | September 10, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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