Leading Business Group Supports Slots in Maryland
The Greater Baltimore Committee is announcing its support for passage of Maryland's slots proposal and urged voters to approve it during the November 4 statewide referendum.
“The GBC has determined that this slots proposal makes sense," GBC President & CEO Donald C. Fry said in a statement released by the group comprised of business CEOs and top-level business executives. “It is a reasonable way to provide needed additional revenues to our state, to stop the hemorrhaging of discretionary spending and revenue that is currently going into the coffers of neighboring states, and to provide the citizens of Baltimore City with an opportunity to benefit from much-needed property tax relief."
Slots legislation requires that 5.5 percent of slots revenue would go to local jurisdictions where slots are located, and that a significant portion of Baltimore City's share be used to reduce property taxes and for public school construction. With the state government currently facing declining revenues as the national economic downturn begins to impact Maryland, passage of the slots proposal will play a vital role in keeping Maryland on an even fiscal keel, Fry said.
He emphasized that a major bond rating agency has acknowledged that the passage of the slots referendum is important to the state's future financial standing. "The bond rating agencies know that should the slots referendum not pass that it will be challenging for our governor and state legislative leaders to cover the magnitude of the budget gap that will exist without some Draconian steps."
"Failure of the slots referendum would place even more fiscal pressure on the governor and lawmakers to find revenue sources," Fry noted. "They would not just cut budgets. They would seek additional revenues and business is a likely target."
Fry noted that the slots plan before the voters addresses key elements of the position the GBC has taken during the five years that the General Assembly has debated the slots issue. Key measures sought by the GBC include a bidding process for gaming licenses, slots venues at potential destination locations, and maximum financial recovery of slots.