If you have been in, or anywhere near, Maryland in the past few months you have been inundated with radio and television commercials, print ads, door hangers — pretty much everything but the Goodyear blimp urging you to vote either for or against Question 7 on the ballot on Nov. 6.
I have watched the state of Maryland go down the same path as dozens of other states in believing that casino gambling would help balance the state budget because it would pay for education costs and, thus, free the money that was being spent on education for other purposes.
The net proceeds from lotteries, remember, were going to go toward improving education, thus freeing general budget funds for other purposes.
I also want my colleagues in the state legislature to be honest with their constituents about what is involved in Question 7:
1) It will allow a “Las Vegas style casino” (including table games) to be built in Prince George’s County. It will be built at National Harbor although the language of the proposition does not tell you that.
2) It will NOT guarantee that the first dime will go toward education. There is nothing in the language of the proposition about that, either.
3) It will actually LOWER the tax rate on gaming revenues for existing casino operators. Keep in mind that Democrats in Annapolis just RAISED taxes on tens of thousands of middle-income earners earlier this year.
4) Many, if not most, of the jobs that are being touted by the proponents of Question 7 will not be available to Marylanders because they will likely go to union construction trades and those workers will be largely imported from out-of-state, and move on to the next project when this one is finished.
5) Las Vegas-style casinos are no guarantees of continued success. If you don’t believe me, hop on Interstate-95, drive up to Atlantic City and see how well that’s working out for our neighbors to the north.
Of the five casinos that were approved just a few years ago, only three are operating (one of those for less than six months), and the Baltimore site has yet to even gain design approval.
As a business case, Maryland doesn’t need a sixth casino. As a revenue case, Question 7 may actually end up costing taxpayers money, not saving them money.
As an education case , we should have already learned our lesson from having trusted the politicians in Annapolis.
Vote NO on Question 7.
Del. Michael Hough, Frederick and Washington counties