Miller Presses Teachers Slots

From the Balitmore Sun:

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has told the leaders of the state’s powerful teachers union that they need to support a November referendum to legalize slot machine gambling or be prepared for severe cuts in education funding.

I am no fan of teacher’s unions, but in this case I think they deserve a little defense from the outright blackmail that Miller is throwing at them. Give me slots or I cut your funding can be interpreted no other way but as blackmail.

“They’ve got to help us either get some type of revenue, either taxes or the video lottery terminals, so we can continue funding public education at the rate I want it funded,” Miller said. “There’s nothing more I want than to fund public education, but the beneficiaries of public education have got to respond in kind.”

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Generally, I think the teacher’s union should stay out of anything not strictly related to the needs of their members, including debates on school policy not related to teachers, but at least when they are talking about education issues they can claims some authority.

On the slots issue they have none. They are no different than any other interest group on this issue and the union leadership should follow the guidance of their local unions and stay out of this fight.

While I could care less one way or the other about slots coming to Maryland, I think they will end up being a financial cruch for the General Assembly rather than making the smart choice and cut spending to save state money. Forcing support from a large interest group just makes their move all the more illegitimate.

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