Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 21, 2003

Slots plan turns revenues over to private interests

Dan Rodricks' column "State might be missing jackpot on slot machines" (Jan. 8) brought up an important point that hasn't been much discussed and that has been bothering me for a while.

Forget the moral issue that slot machines would be state-sponsored gambling. That's a specious objection with lottery machines on nearly every corner. But slots certainty are a way to increase state revenues, using money that will come from the pockets of citizens.

Isn't this something most people would call a tax? If I buy a dollar of gas and the state gets a cut, it's a gas tax. If I put a dollar in a slot machine and the state gets a cut, it's a gambling tax. Dress it up anyway you want, but Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. wants to impose a new tax.

Championing a new tax is an odd thing for a Republican to do, but this new tax is different from our existing taxes. Ingeniously, and insidiously, the collection of this new tax will be privatized.

This new tax won't be collected by civil servants toiling in some inefficient government bureaucracy; this new tax will be collected by the "gaming industry." In fact, between 25 percent and 50 percent of the revenue from this new tax will flow directly to the "gaming industry," bypassing the state entirely and thus reducing the state's revenue.

The morality issue here isn't gambling, it's the willingness of the governor and our representatives to give our tax dollars directly to private companies of dubious reputation.

John R. Sorge

Betterton

Don't let tracks take the proceeds of slots

Dan Rodricks hit the nail on the head when he said slots should be run by the Maryland Lottery, not the racetracks ("State might be missing jackpot on slot machines," Jan. 8).

Let the tracks fend for themselves; they should not get any more support from the state than the breaks they are already receiving.

And why should the slots profits go to the Cooke and DeFrancis families and others with their hands in the racetrack pot?

How will that help solve the budget deficit?

Buck Rufenacht

Cockeysville

I think Dan Rodricks' proposal to have the Maryland Lottery run the slot machines hit the nail on the head.

Why should we give any portion of the profits to racetracks? If racetracks can't stand on their own, then let them go out of business.

James Williamson

Savage

While the morality of slots is questionable, the financial deal the state is now looking at doesn't look good, either.

If we are going to have slots at tracks or casinos, then the state should own them and operate them just like the lottery.

Then all of the profits will go to the citizens, not to Las Vegas gaming companies.

Timothy Barnum

Severna Park

3 simple reasons to oppose slots

Opposing slot machines in Maryland is as simple as ABC - addiction, bankruptcies and corruption.

Grenville B. Whitman

Baltimore

Handling of N. Korea worsens the crisis

The North Koreans, after being referred to as part of "the axis of evil" now say they will withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and restart their nuclear weapons program in the name of national defense. The Bush administration is condemning this move ("North Korea quits nuclear arms pact amid new talks," Jan. 10).

Meanwhile, the United States has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, saying it must do so in the interest of national security.

No wonder much of the world considers us arrogant and xenophobic.

Robert L. Mauro

Abingdon

The United States has withdrawn from treaties we viewed as impediments to doing what we wanted. Now North Korea has followed our example. Why do we act surprised?

Our leaders' handling of this Korean crisis and other crises is making the world less safe.

Bob Sartwell

Pasadena

Time has run out for N. Korean regime

For more than 50 years, North Korea has been an outlaw nation and a perpetual troublemaker ("North Korean officials threaten to resume ballistic missile tests," Jan. 12). Many Americans and others have died because of its regime.

That regime is warlike, treacherous and cruel. I believe it has overstayed its welcome. And I think that it is time for the United States and most of the world to issue an ultimatum: Comply with the nuclear treaties or else.

It is time to send the North Korean regime to the trash heap of history where it belongs.

Gary R. Kirschnick

Eldersburg

Bush must prove Iraq poses a threat

I see no proof that a war with Iraq is necessary. Those charged with assessing weapons development in Iraq have found no reason to take such a step ("In Iraq, limited access, no proof," Jan. 10) and many of our allies question the need to go to war.

President Bush may indeed have strong evidence of the need to use violent means to end the regime in Iraq. If so, he would be derelict in his duty if he did not pursue that course. But he cannot ask the American people to follow him blindly.

Until he shows that risking the lives of our soldiers and those of the Iraqi people is necessary, he has no mandate from me to make war on Iraq.

Bob Wirtz

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