No Guts At All

from Maryland Politics Today

It’s no secret that Governor Martin O’Malley is not a fan of slot machines or even discussing the issue. Last November, Governor Martin O’Malley (D) told WBAL (1090AM) that he is sick of the issue of slots. He also stated his frustration with slots back then as well on WUSA (Channel 9) stating that it was one of the issues holding Maryland back. Back in June, the Governor changed his tune singing the praises of slots, sounding like his predecessor, Governor Robert Ehrlich (R).

It has been well documented that O’Malley has a disdain for discussing slots. It has also been documented that not only House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Dist. 30) detests slots period, but when it comes to making a decision on hard issues, he will take a side step. This was infamous when two years ago, the debate on gay marriage entered Maryland. Before a committee was scheduled to take a vote on whether to put the issue on referendum, the house was adjourned for the day and the measure was expired.

Now that the idea of a statewide referendum is being brought up…it is not surprising to me, considering Busch and O’Malley’s true feelings on slots, that these two men think it would be a great idea. O’Malley according to The Baltimore Sun has recently started floating the idea of placing a constitutional amendment to allow slots in next year’s election. Busch attempted this once during the Ehrlich era.

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Folks, video slot machine gambling is NOT a constitutional issue. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York approved slots in their legislature. Lawmakers in these states were not trying to side step the up or down vote that Busch has done and what O’Malley is trying to do. O’Malley does not have the votes for slots. I doubt he will have the votes for a referendum. Right now, slots need to be off of the table and the focus should be on the nickel and diming of Marylanders in every economic class…the taxes folks.

Maybe Streiff had a point in saying that the GOP caucus withholding their votes for slots. Now the General Assembly will have no choice but to focus on taxes and cuts to the budget. Remember what the Chairwoman of the State House Ways and Means Committee Sheila Hixson (D-Dist. 20) said…EVERYTHING is on the table. Hopefully she will hold that fact to O’Malley, Busch and the rest of the Democratic General Assembly. Because this proposal that O’Malley is not fair to the rich or to the working families, especially those living in apartments.

P. Kenneth Burns is the editor/writer of Maryland Politics Today and a contributor to Red Maryland. He resides in Laurel, Prince George’s County and can be reached at

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