Republican Mixed Bag

While I am happy that the G.O.P. is towing the line when it comes to the largest tax increase in Maryland history, I have somewhat mixed feelings when it comes with the rejection of a slots bill.

The principle issue for the past ten years is slots for Republicans, especially when it comes to money leaving the state. Remember what DLLR Secretary Tom Perez reported that the people going to slots are mainly white middle class and retirees. It’s been a known fact for quite a while, but it’s official because Perez is a Democrat.

I am afraid that certain people, like House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Dist. 30) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) will use this to their advantage when it comes to making the case against slots. Assuming that the Democrats pass every single element of Governor Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal, O’Malley (D) and the rest of the Democrats will have a case against Republicans for trying to keep Maryland from moving forward. I can see those ads coming in 2010.

Republicans are taking a big gamble in towing a hard line against tax hikes with slots. If it works, then this would be a practical victory for the Republicans. Republicans need to hold O’Malley and the Democrats feet to the fire when it comes to “One Maryland.” If they don’t, the 75 percent majority in both houses will walk all over them and I will have sales tax on top of my rent.

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

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