On October 29th, 2007, the Maryland Association of Counties is supporting the governor’s plan to utilize the slot machines to compensate for the $1.7 billion dollar deficit, but other methods must also be utilized to solve the budget deficit and the counties that will contain the slot machines are compensated adequately for the effects of the slot machines.
Gov. Martin O’Malley has pushed for installing up to 9,500 slot machines all over the state, which will contribute more than $600 million annually to the state treasury. The money from the slot machines will also be allocated for education and school development and to help the state’s horse racing industry.
The association said that cash from video lottery terminals could become a long term source of profit for the state provided that programs that will mitigate its effects and help in regulating the industry. The Association represents 23 charitable organizations in Maryland’s twenty-three counties.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett commented that although he is wary of the slots proposal, he wants the legislators to review Gov. O’Malley’s slots proposal because without some plan to solve the budget deficit problem, counties could suffer a lot from the resulting budget cuts.
The governor released a critical budget situation in which he said that in the event that his proposals will not be passed, it could cost $86 million for the Montgomery County and $153 million for Prince George’s County.
The spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson, Jim Keary commented that the county’s leaders would back a referendum on the slot machines because the voters should have the right to decide.
Keary said that Johnson had some reservations on the 2005 slots plan that were studied by the lawmakers because it would have resulted in slot machines placement at the Laurel Park racing track in Anne Arundel County without sending any money to the Prince George County.