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More Flaws from the Constitutional Amendment

I noted before that one of my biggest issues with a Constitutional Amendment calling for slots was the fact that this particular amendment specifies where slot machines can be, without allowing the state the flexibility to change the locations later without another referendum on a new Constitutional Amendment. And now we are starting to see the error of those ways:

Local government officials could block the legalization of slot machine gambling in their communities even if voters in 2008 approve a ballot initiative passed this week in the General Assembly, a lawyer with the Maryland attorney general’s office said yesterday.

A little-noticed provision in the referendum legislation that orders state slots operators to comply with local zoning regulations essentially allows local authorities to exercise final say, said Kathryn M. Rowe, an assistant state attorney general who deals with bills passed by the legislature.

The threat of local opposition sets up yet another battleground in what many believe will be a fierce referendum campaign on slot machines leading up to the November 2008 election….

…Should slots not go forward in Anne Arundel and Worcester, the number of machines proposed by the governor would be cut almost in half – taking away a large amount of the $650 million in state revenues expected annually from slot machines for public education and health care. The state’s horse industry would also be affected, as the Anne Arundel and Worcester slots sites are expected to be at two racetracks, Laurel Park and Ocean Downs.

All of this means the knuckleheaded Democrats who included those mandated locations in the Amendment are realistically setting the entire enterprise up for failure. And frankly, this makes me even more infuriated at the Republicans who knifed the party by supporting this amendment. If slots fails, either at the ballot box or upon implementation, because of these particular zoning issues, it is going to lead to (what else) even higher taxes. And I don’t think that fiscal conservatives are going to forget that the next time these five run for re-election…

(Crossposted)






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