Gov. O’Malleys Slots Solution to Maryland Budget Deficit

With the special meeting of the Maryland General Assembly scheduled to begin on October 29th, 2007, one of the problems that has produced debate among individuals on both sides of the slots issue is allowing slot machine gaming in Maryland.

The slots proposal was a big part of former Governor Robert Ehrlich Jr.’s administration. It is also widely expected to be the main part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to scale down the $1.7 billion budget proposal.

Statements from Comptroller Peter Franchot and House Speaker Michael Busch from the Democratic Party have showed that they were still opposed to the plan while the other members of the Democratic party have also confirmed their criticism of the slots proposal despite of the fact that one of their members occupies the Government facility.

Criticism to the slots proposal may seem partisan when Ehrlich, who is from the Republican Party, was the governor. But the present criticism to the slots issue shows that there is more than simply partisan politics that is happening.

One thing about the proposal is understandable; allowing slot machines is not a good idea regardless of who endorses. Using gaming to improve the state’s treasury may work without allowing additional taxes. But the probability that the slot machines could cause Maryland residents to become chronic gamblers is too big to set aside.

Some parts of O’Malley’s proposal to bring down the deficit are okay. Increasing taxes on Maryland residents that have a big income as long as the middle class and the lower class are not affected are good. Increasing taxes on cigarettes, making it more troublesome for people to put their health in danger is also a good proposal.

Other factors of O’Malley’s proposal are not popular. Like one of those factors is the proposed increase in the sales tax. O’Malley commented that his proposal would not affect families but unlike income taxes, the sales tax would come out of their pockets every time they bought something.

According to the census done in 2000, the state of Maryland has a total population of 5.6 million people, which is 19th all over the country. Maryland may be one of the richest states in the United States but it has a big problem with the budget deficit. There may be different ways to improve profit generation to cut back some of the budget deficit. Despite the opposition of some sectors, the state really needs to do something to solve the budget problem.

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