On slots, mayor should know better

October 13, 2012

The sad thing is Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake knows better than her op-ed "Keeping money in Maryland" (Oct. 11). Four years ago Maryland voters approved slots because they were told casinos would pay Maryland taxpayers 67 percent of proceeds. Question 7 would change the slots tax rate from 67 percent to 51-49 percent, gifting casinos an additional half a billion dollars a year, according to the Department of Legislative Services. The two big winners — MGM and Caesar's — are out of state, and 49 percent of Maryland Live casino may be sold to out of state Penn National.

The Sun editorials and voters who have been asked about it in polls suspect that any added casino tax revenues would merely replace general revenues already going to education. But the real problem is that once the casino tax rate goes down from 67 percent to 49-51 percent, there will be a big loss, not a gain, to education, which tax payers will have to make up through higher taxes. Voters know that politicians such as Gov. Martin O'Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Ms. Rawlings-Blake, and even House Speaker Michael E. Busch sold them out to out-of-state developers and casinos in the special session. You can defend yourself from this money grab by voting "no" on Question 7.

James Kelly, Ellicott City

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