Letters To The Editor


April 10, 2003

State will suffer because Busch sabotaged slots

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was elected on a platform of reform to raise funds in a manner different from the typical Democratic cry of "tax, tax, tax" - which we heard until we were all ready to move out of this state ("Assembly ends with fiscal crisis unresolved," April 8).

His plan was to use slot machine gambling - an already popular activity for which thousands of Marylanders travel to Delaware, West Virginia and Atlantic City, N.J., each week - as an alternative to the legislature digging in our pockets.

This voluntary activity could have created jobs, supplied $700 million a year to improve education and diminish the Democrat-created deficit the state faces, boosted a dying industry, fostered new construction and, in general, improved the Maryland economy without placing another burden on the overtaxed citizens of this state.

Mr. Ehrlich had a mandate from Marylanders to change the "business as usual" attitude of the Democrats in the state legislature. House Speaker Michael E. Busch's arrogant belief that he knows better what is best for us is not only reprehensible, but an abuse of power.

The citizens of Maryland will once again suffer for the games that Mr. Busch and his colleagues have played with our lives to satisfy their egos.

Linda A. Metz


Time for the state to tighten its belt

Why is it always a tax increase? Every time the government is irresponsible and overspends the solution is a tax increase ("An overriding concern," editorial, April 7).

When I overspend I have to tighten my belt and pay my bills. The government has a responsibility to the people to spend our money responsibly.

I work hard for my money and I do not wish to have more of it taken away by politicians who continually promise to spend money that is not theirs to buy votes and stay in power.

It is time for government officials to be accountable for their excesses, do the right thing and reduce spending.

John M. Huber

Bel Air

Turn olive branch into a weapon

When Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was elected as the first Republican governor in decades, he immediately extended an olive branch to the Democratic majority with a "Let's work together" attitude. The Democratic legislature seems to have rejected the offer by not allowing the governor's slots proposal to be voted on by both full houses of elected representatives. And Mr. Ehrlich will now be forced to balance the budget through spending cuts at all levels ("Assembly ends with fiscal crisis unresolved," April 8).

It's now time to whittle a sharp point on that olive branch and start poking back. Let's hope that the first round of cuts includes the political patronage jobs of those close to Democrats who rejected the slots proposal.

Now's the time for Mr. Ehrlich to start playing politics, as this is the only game the entrenched Democrats know.

Wayne Croft


Playing Santa Claus for nearby states

Yes, West Virginia and Delaware, there is a Santa Claus - and he's also known as House Speaker Michael E. Busch. He will continue to make glad your hearts and pocket books for at least another year.

I hope you enjoy Maryland's millions.

Don Welsh


Slots are a tax by another name

I have finally figured out what has been puzzling me about the "slots vs. taxes" debate. In reality, state-sponsored slot machines are just another type of tax. If one sees them as such, the debate is not about slots or taxes but what kind of tax to impose or increase ("Busch outlines criteria for slots," April 4).

Each slot machine is programmed to retain, on average, a fixed percentage of the money fed into that machine. And the amount of revenue going to the state is quite predictable and is, for all practical purposes, a tax. Indeed, it is quite similar to a tax on movie tickets or hotel rooms.

It is of course quite possible that most of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s supporters won't be playing the slot machines. So it is a selective (and, of course, regressive) tax.

George Alberts


State can determine its own drug policy

Isn't it about time drug czar John P. Walters and other Bush administration cronies stopped meddling in Maryland's affairs ("GOP leaders press Ehrlich to veto medical marijuana," April 4)?

Contrary to the claims of Mr. Walters and others, passage of the Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act will not legalize marijuana use for any citizen.

It merely requires a court to consider a patient's use of medical marijuana as a mitigating factor in marijuana-related state prosecutions.

Those patients who successfully make the case at trial that their marijuana use is medically necessary will face a reduced penalty of a fine and no jail time.

Broader versions of medical marijuana defense laws exempting qualified patients from state prosecution already exist in numerous states. These laws have not led to increased marijuana use or left the state vulnerable to potential lawsuits.

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