Category: Slot Machine

Education To Suffer If Tax Increase, Slot Machine Proposal Not Adopted

Education in Montgomery County would bear the brunt of the jurisdiction’s pain if the governor’s plans for tax increases and slot machines are not adopted by state lawmakers.

Big cuts in aid to counties, libraries, schools, universities, health care, state police and dozens of other programs would be needed if the legislature doesn’t pass tax increases next month, Gov. Martin O’Malley warned Tuesday as he introduced his version of a “doomsday” budget.

Montgomery County alone would see an estimated loss of about $86 million under O’Malley’s worst-case scenario.

Cuts in state funding for county education programs would constitute more than half of the loss in funding, with a potential freeze of $18.4 million in money for the state’s Thornton plan for funding equitable education across the board, according to information provided by the state Wednesday.

The state would freeze $12.8 million in teacher retirement payments; reduce by $4.3 million support for Montgomery College; and delay issuing $9.2 million to the county in cost-of-living-adjustment funds for education.

“I am not shocked by these figures at all,” Montgomery County Education Association Director Tom Israel said. “I will be shocked as will our schools if they come to fruition. The state does need to address the tax side of things.”

Israel said freezing state contributions to teacher pensions could pit school districts across the state against each other in a struggle to hire and retain teachers.

“Montgomery County might be more willing and able to continue to pay pension benefits if the state …

Harford County Is Added To List As A Potential Spot For Slot

Frederick is in and Ocean City is out as a location for slot-machine gambling, a House of Delegates subcommittee recommended Wednesday. Harford County was also added to Cecil County as a potential slot site in the northeast Interstate 95 corridor.

The full House of Delegates finally begins debate today on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to let voters decide in a referendum next year on slots gambling at five Maryland locations.

Subcommittee Chairman Frank Turner, D-Howard, had been pushing the Frederick location all week as a way to capture the slot-machine dollars flowing into Charlestown track in West Virginia.

The site at Ocean Downs racetrack near Ocean City “might not be a really viable location,” Turner said, because it has high tourist traffic only three or four months a year.

“I think Frederick is a viable solution,” Del. Craig Rice, D-Montgomery, and the four other members of the committee agreed.

Before the committee acted, O’Malley reacted coolly to the change in locations.

“I was grateful that the Senate passed the bill that we gave them on the slots issue and they did so without changing it much, and I would hope that the House would do the same thing,” O’Malley said. “I hope that they don’t change it too much.”

Frederick County was a site proposed in a slots bill that passed the House in 2005 but never cleared the Senate. Senate President Thomas Mike Miller said Wednesday morning he still did not favor a Frederick site. The county has passed …