House Republicans Propose Slots; Will Leopold Go Along?
Yesterday, republican leaders in the house met with Gov. Marty O’Malley to discuss how to balance the state budget. According to an article in today’s Examiner, the centerpiece of the plan involves slots. It’s refreshing to hear slot proposals instead of an immediate call for tax increases. House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell will need to remain steadfast if his fellow republicans hope to make any headway on a slots but no taxes platform. Otherwise, tax increases will reported by the democrats and their media partners as a necessary commodity. No doubt, the republicans have a good plan in place, but they can’t back down. This is one fight they can win in the court of public opinion. Polls show Marylanders support slots. Therefore, if the case is made that tax increases can be avoided, pressure will mount from the public to pass slots. In the past, the republicans have failed to take the fight to the people. There’s no better time than the present with this issue.
In reality, Marty O’Malley may not be the one who needs to be convinced here. He supports slots. Likewise, Mike Miller supports slots and has more than enough votes needed for passage in the Senate. In turn, I expect Mike Busch to drop his phony “moral opposition” to slots now that a democrat is back in the State House. Then, once Busch changes his stance, I predict many democratic lapdogs will follow him in lock step. In other words, slots are inevitable. They will be passed with support from both sides of the political aisle.
So does this mean we’ll be seeing slots at Laurel Park before the next election? Oops, hold your horses. Republican John Leopold, who demonstrated during his legislative career that he’s not hostile to tax or fee increases, has said he will do everything in his power to keep slots out of Anne Arundel County. Even if slots are approved statewide, local jurisdictions would have ultimate say whether or not they can come into a particular community.
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No doubt, John Leopold does his best to wield influence over others. If he actively opposes slots, there’s almost no way slots will make their way into our county. Granted, the state can put pressure on him by drastically cutting aid to the county. Still, that’s unlikely to happen when the House Speaker hails from this county and two of this counties four legislative districts (21 and 32)are represented by all democrats.
In the end, this is a winning venture for republicans since they have been the face of this issue for 5 years now. It would be shame to see a fight from a powerful force within the party spoil the political win.