Here is what the Maryland Taxpayers Association had to say:
The Maryland Taxpayers Association (MTA) announced its strong opposition to aIn a little known secret meeting at the Republican National Convention, I was elected spokesperson for all Conservatives living maverick-ly outside of Annapolis city limits. Speaking for them, I can say that anti-gambling fervor is not the main reason of opposition for slots. Neither is the motivation to screw O'Malley like the Dem's screwed Ehrlich's plan. Here are the reasons (some better than others) to oppose this slots package.
Constitutional Amendment legalizing slot machine gambling at a press conference
in Annapolis today.
MTA President Herb McMillan reminded fiscal
conservatives that, “Maryland can’t tax and gamble its way to prosperity, or
spend itself out of a deficit. Excessive spending and higher taxes are the root
causes of Maryland’s economic problems. Slots will not solve these problems.
Slots will simply add fuel to the government’s spending fire, while pulling 1.4
billion away from existing Maryland businesses. Slots, like tax increases, hurt
small businesses, kill jobs, and weaken our economy. It’s time for government to
tighten its belt and live within its means, just like we do.”
MTA Chairman Dee Hodges added that, “Taxpayers cannot trust Governor O’Malley with their money. Within one year, Governor O’Malley and his spendthrift friends in
the General Assembly blew a billion dollar surplus, pushed through the largest
tax hike in Maryland history, and then increased state spending by a billion
dollars. Now we have yet another billion dollar deficit. Money burns a hole in
Governor O’Malley’s pocket, and fiscal conservatives shouldn’t enable his
Mr. McMillan pointed out that, “Despite his claims
to the contrary, Governor O’Malley hasn’t cut any spending. State spending
increased by one billion last year. Governor O’Malley isn’t using higher taxes
and slots to avoid spending cuts. He’s using them to increase spending and
expand government entitlement programs.”
In closing, Mr. McMillan called on fiscally conservative Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to unite against slots. “For years, fiscal conservatives were divided over slots, but Governor O’Malley has radically changed the terms of the debate. Slots and cuts instead of higher taxes were arguably the lesser of two evils. Slots after a record tax and spending increase are just an additional evil.”
1. Such specific language should not be in the Constitution. Since the measure appears as a ballot referendum, if passed it will appear in the Constitution of Maryland. The details of slots should be codified by statute.
2. It makes it very hard for Marylanders to change their mind. Let's say that we adopt slots, then find out slot machines create genetic deficiencies in small children that make them all want to become economists when they grow up. How horrible! With a Constitutional mandate in place, it would be very hard to repeal or even change slots--especially with the people who make money from it lining up in defense.
3. Slots are being used to avoid fiscal responsibility. This is the crux of Mr. McMillan's argument. Let's start with not raising new taxes at a special session, then maybe we can talk slots.
4. Political cowardice. I have heard some people criticize the legislature for passing the buck to the voters and not taking a stand themselves. I tend to think that there are more shrewd tactics at work, but it's an argument nonetheless.
5. The government will have more money to spend/waste. No explanation needed.
For me, there are better ways to do this, and better places to start saving/raising money.