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Franchot: 'Deep Tax Cuts' Offset Expected Gaming Revenue

Comptroller says the November referendum will not be about legalization of slots but "will be about the type of government Marylanders want, and the kind of state we wish to leave to our kids."

Comptroller Peter Franchot said expanded gaming legislation scheduled to be signed into law Wednesday won't generate the revenue state officials promise.

"There never was a fiscal or an economic rationale for reconvening the Maryland General Assembly for its third special session in less than a year," said Franchot in a statement released Wednesday. "Any revenues that will be generated by a new casino in Prince George’s County will take several years to materialize and, if the past is any indication, have been drastically overestimated by gambling supporters and legislative analysts."

Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign the bill into law after 10 a.m. Wednesday, just hours after the Senate passed a final version amended by the House of Delegates.

The General Assembly that will allow voters the chance to approve table games and a possible sixth casino in Prince George's County—possibly at National Harbor.

"Furthermore, any modest revenues that will result from this new MGM casino will be offset to a large extent by the deep tax cuts that have been awarded by the legislature to MGM’s in-state competitors," said Franchot in his statement.

MGM Resorts has expressed interest in building a facility at National Harbor.

"While the events of the past few days have been extremely profitable for the national gambling industry, they have been calamitous to those who still value open, transparent and progressive government," said Franchot in his statement. "The irregular nature of this session provided no meaningful forum for members of the public to attend public hearings, express their opinions and ask hard questions. It denied citizens the chance to review real-time campaign finance reports and draw their own conclusions. The final product—tax cuts of 25 percent or more for casino operators, from the same legislature that has repeatedly raised taxes, fees and tolls on small businesses and middle class families—is the most regressive act of public policy that I have seen in 25 years in public life."

Skip727 August 17, 2012 at 07:03 PM
One other thing, if the vacation was pre-planned why does the roll call have her listed as NOT VOTING instead of ABSENT? Just asking. Thanks again for the response.
Joan Wood August 17, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Skip727: She was on vacation proir to this "not so special session". I'm sorry if I reported the incorrect information. Here is a link to her web-site with her updates on the session and a way to contact her. It clearly states she voted NO.......Delegate Kathy Szeliga [kszeliga@aol.com] call or email her. I'm sure she will answer your questions.
Skip727 August 17, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Joan, Thank you for that information. Don't apologize, happens to us all. And you are correct in calling it a "not-so-special-session". Have a good day.
M. Sullivan August 20, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Mike, of course no society "needs" casinos nor do they "need" any other form of entertainment like theater, bars, bowling alleys, etc. Just because you don't think casinos are fun doesn't mean others don't. The problem in MD is our tax dollars are being wasted by our government trying to have too much control over a casino industry that is doomed to failure due to the clumsy, ignorant actions taken in Annapolis. A casino industry that is controlled by the people who know the business, that is taxed at a reasonable rate, will thrive. It will bring in out of state money, provide jobs, and pay a regular, sustainable tax base. All these stupid actions from Annapolis such as buying millions of dollars of machines with our tax money and the regulations that make any casinos in MD inferior are just wasting our money.
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