Franchot: 'Deep Tax Cuts' Offset Expected Gaming Revenue
Comptroller says the November referendum will not be about legalization of slots but "will be about the type of government Marylanders want, and the kind of state we wish to leave to our kids."
Comptroller Peter Franchot said expanded gaming legislation scheduled to be signed into law Wednesday won't generate the revenue state officials promise.
"There never was a fiscal or an economic rationale for reconvening the Maryland General Assembly for its third special session in less than a year," said Franchot in a statement released Wednesday. "Any revenues that will be generated by a new casino in Prince George’s County will take several years to materialize and, if the past is any indication, have been drastically overestimated by gambling supporters and legislative analysts."
Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign the bill into law after 10 a.m. Wednesday, just hours after the Senate passed a final version amended by the House of Delegates.
The General Assembly approved a bill that will allow voters the chance to approve table games and a possible sixth casino in Prince George's County—possibly at National Harbor.
"Furthermore, any modest revenues that will result from this new MGM casino will be offset to a large extent by the deep tax cuts that have been awarded by the legislature to MGM’s in-state competitors," said Franchot in his statement.
MGM Resorts has expressed interest in building a facility at National Harbor.
"While the events of the past few days have been extremely profitable for the national gambling industry, they have been calamitous to those who still value open, transparent and progressive government," said Franchot in his statement. "The irregular nature of this session provided no meaningful forum for members of the public to attend public hearings, express their opinions and ask hard questions. It denied citizens the chance to review real-time campaign finance reports and draw their own conclusions. The final product—tax cuts of 25 percent or more for casino operators, from the same legislature that has repeatedly raised taxes, fees and tolls on small businesses and middle class families—is the most regressive act of public policy that I have seen in 25 years in public life."