Tax Hikes Will Seal Slot Deal Between O’Malley And Busch

Last Reporter
Cross posted on Last Reporter

As predicted by Last Reporter, with a $1.5 billion deficit hanging over his head, Gov. Martin O’Malley is making an all out push for legalizing slot machines in Maryland.

For months, O’Malley has been pushing slots behind the scenes, to the point that some jurisdictions such as Baltimore City are already planning how they will spend their take, as we reported exclusively.

However, the O’Malley administration gave its promotion of slots a public boost yesterday when it released a new report concluding that slots are necessary to save the state’s dying racing industry, and that Maryland is losing hundreds of millions in revenue to neighboring states that have already legalized the one-arm bandits.

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The comical and amazing thing about the presentation of this report by the O’Malley administration, is that it tried to make it seem as though its findings had somehow broken new ground.

When in fact, former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich repeated the same conclusion many times throughout his solo term, only to have his slots bill killed by state House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch, the Democrat from Anne Arundel County.

Busch will see the light

While Busch continues to say he would not back a slots bill that puts them solely in race tracks, he has said he would not derail a bill that allowed an auction of slot licenses.

Under this kind of arrangement, race tracks could still get slots and so could hotels and restaurants in the Inner Harbor, on the Eastern Shore in Frederick or even in far off Cumberland would have the possibility of adding a slot franchise to their establishments.

Sources tell Last Reporter that such a deal is quite doable since O’Malley, unlike Ehrlich, has no problem coupling the legalization of slots with the hiking of various state sales, gas and income taxes.

The additional taxes, sources say, is the cement that is guaranteed to seal such a deal between O’Malley and Busch.

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