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