Slots parlors and casinos are new to Maryland, and we have not yet seen the deterioration of the communities surrounding the casinos. Frankly, I do not want to see Fort Washington and Oxon Hill become mirror images of the communities surrounding Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Also, revenue from gambling is a regressive tax on the most vulnerable in our communities, much like the state lottery system (oh yeah, werenít revenues from the lottery supposed [to] help fund schools?). So why do we think slots and casino revenue will be dedicated for education?
Iím disappointed that our county executive, County Council and state legislative leadership could find no other way to raise revenue than to turn to the addictive behavior of gambling. Could we not capitalize on our flagship university, the University of Maryland, and lure more research and development firms to the county in the fields of science, medicine, technology, telecommunications, or solar and wind energy alternatives? The county already has demonstrated that it cannot capitalize on entertainment that comes to a major sports venue, FedEx Field. Since the building of the stadium, more businesses have closed around the stadium than opened.
Donít expect a casino at National Harbor to revitalize our communities, because National Harbor is its own island. The owner even identifies its mailing address as National Harbor, Md., not Oxon Hill or Fort Washington.
Finally, gambling will not bring jobs to our county as advertised, at least not the ones our educated workforce wants and deserves. Highly skilled construction jobs are temporary and have a finite term of employment: completion of construction. My impression, based on a presentation from MGM Resorts, is that a casino, an entertainment venue (for shows) and hotel(s) would be built at National Harbor. Ask yourself, how many professionals are needed to run those facilities? Not very many. That does not equate to thousands of highly educated, highly skilled jobs that Prince Georgians want, deserve and qualify.
The hand dealt to voters in Maryland is not a winning one, especially for Prince Georgians; itís a bad deal. Throw that hand back to leadership to try something more innovative and not so regressive. Vote ďNoĒ on Question 7.
Tamara Davis Brown, Clinton