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Del. Cluster: Question 7 on the November Ballot (Gambling)

Why I am voting no on Question 7 on the November Ballot

Question 7, Gambling.

I have recently been contacted by numerous constituents over the past several weeks about my views on question 7, the Gambling question on the ballot in November.  I have told many of you that I will be voting against this question for a variety of reasons and I thought I would share these reasons with the rest of my constituents.

 The first reason I am voting no on question 7 is that a couple of months ago we were called into special session so the Democratic leadership could raise taxes on the working class of Maryland and we constantly hear our Governor rail on the Republicans for wanting to give the rich a tax break. Well this bill does just that. It reduces the tax on Casino owners from the current 67% down to as low as 51%, giving these owners a tax break after asking our citizens to pay higher taxes.

The next reason for voting against this question is that in Maryland our small business owners have to pay a personal property tax on all equipment they own in their businesses, sometime reaching thousands of dollars yearly. Well this casino question specifically eliminates this personal property tax on all casino operators. This tax is somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 per machine costing this state hundreds of thousands of revenue each and every year. If it is good for the casinos why is it not good for every business owner of Maryland?  

Another reason I am voting no is that buried in this piece of legislation there is a provision that the owners of the new casino at National Harbor can ask for the state to reimburse them up to $300 million in road repairs that are needed to open this casino. The other casinos did not receive this luxury. They have either paid for the repairs by themselves or the counties they are in have helped out, neither of which can ask for reimbursement.

The final reason for voting no on question 7 is the process by which this bill was passed in the special session. The vote buying that occurred during the session was embarrassing for me to watch. Delegates were selling their votes for their own special needs and not looking out for the citizens of Maryland. I can say that without a doubt this was the worst display of politics that I have ever witnessed in Annapolis and I urge all Marylanders to vote no on question 7.

Delegate John Cluster

8th Legislative District

Baltimore County

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L Brown September 13, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Do you really think that the people up in Western Maryland are going to quit going to W VA to gamble and travel farther to National Harbor? The gambling dollars that would go to National Harbor are probably just dollars being split off from the Live! Casino at Arundel Mills. If you really want to get the Western Maryland dollars then push for a casino to be built in Western Maryland.
Other Tim September 13, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Last I heard this is happening. State of Maryland sold Rocky Gap Resort to a casino developer.
Jason Whitekettle October 04, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Harrison, the issue is not about the jobs that it will create, the issue is about the simple fact that the tax burden will shift even more unbearably to the middle class in the state of Maryland. If the question were to simply state "allow 1 more casino to be built and allow table games to be placed in the casino's, then I would happily vote yes to this question. My ultimate concern is in the reduction of the tax rate for the casino owners and the elimination of the personal property tax from the casinos as well. These two barrels of pork reduce the tax revenue of the state and place the financial burden more squarely on the shoulders of the small business owners and the ever dwindling middle class. Your statement about the benefits to Maryland across the board being obvious is a blatant fallacy and deserves more in depth research before jumping on the wagon wearing blinders to the full spectrum of how truly devastating this would be to the state's economy.
Jamesbond58 October 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I am voting "No" for all the above reasons and more. Our governor socks it to the individual and small business owner but big breaks go to the casinos. Building more casinos does not create more gamblers. After the initial novelty wears off in about 6 months the casinos are mostly left with the hard core gamblers. Plus putting it downtown Baltimore will encourage those that can least afford it easy access in the hope of get rich quick. Look at Atlantic City, the city is floundering and they have had casinos for over 30 years. You would think the city would be flush with money and beautiful with all sorts of improvements. It NEVER happened there and won't happen here either. Don't be deluded by the casino operators. I wouldn't trust them to for a second.
Parkvillehoney October 07, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Went to Maryland Live at Arundel Mills this past Friday. What a let down. Too crowded and not a good experience. This place doesn't compete with Charlestown or Dover Downs for an excellent gambling experience. Will not be returning to Maryland Live.

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