Rallying the troops for crony capitalism!
Did you get the letter? I did and it was infuriating. Using their former status as Republican leaders in the state, Michael Steele and Audrey Scott apparently obtained a mailing list for registered Maryland Republicans and told us why we should support O’Malley and his crony gambling buddies on ballot Question #7.
I’m glad to see someone has the guts to challenge them! Marta Mossburg of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, writing at the Baltimore Sun, zings them in her column earlier this week. (emphasis mine, hat tip: Judy)
Republicans in Maryland often wonder why they lose. The letter sent last week by Michael Steele and Audrey Scott to Maryland Republicans urging them to vote for expanded gambling is a perfect example of how the party solidifies its minority status.
In it, the former Republican National Committee chairman and lieutenant governor and a former Maryland GOP chairwoman rally the troops for crony capitalism as if they were wearing Halloween masks of Senate President Mike Miller and Gov. Martin O’Malley.
They repeat the Democratic Party lie that a new casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County will “provide hundreds of millions in new revenue for education each year, without raising taxes.”
Gambling revenue will replace money going to public schools from other sources, but nowhere does the law say public schools will get millions in “new revenue.”
Dismissing reality, they also say that Question 7 will “steer millions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of jobs into Western Maryland [via the gaming facility at Rocky Gap] and the Eastern Shore [via gaming facilities at Ocean Downs and Perryville].” They know that the Maryland Live casino in Anne Arundel, which opened in June, is siphoning revenue from Hollywood Casino Perryville. Revenue is down about 35 percent year over year there. (Revenue at Ocean Downs is up about 5 percent from a year ago.) And Penn National Gaming, Hollywood’s owner and the money behind the opposition to Question 7, recently asked the state to remove some slot machines so that the place doesn’t look empty. So how is adding another casino to increase jobs and money to those locations a sure thing, even with table games?
Did they get paid for their endorsement?
Laughably, Mr. Steele and Ms. Scott also note, “Partisan politics should not interfere with economic development and the creation of jobs.”
Mr. Steele and Ms. Scott’s letter was sent on behalf of the pro-Question 7 organization For Maryland Jobs & Schools. A spokeswoman for the group could not immediately say whether the pair was paid for their effort.
With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?
Mr. Steele and Ms. Scott say that their main motivation is to do gambling “right” and capture as much money for the state as possible. But Question 7 is really about doing MGM Resorts International right, not Maryland taxpayers.
For Mr. Steele and Ms. Scott to add to Maryland’s reputation as a place that hands out favors to the politically connected makes a joke of their party label. With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?
Mossburg gives us some very good economic reasons (read it all) why you should vote ‘against’ on Question 7, but here are two reasons I oppose the expansion of gambling in Maryland….
I grew up near Atlantic City (was actually born there!) and it’s a crime-ridden hell hole that recently had to be taken over by the state of NJ to get the crime under control. And, I now live not far from Charlestown Race Track. Did you ever go by there and note who is gambling?—-the people who can least afford to be throwing their money away! It is taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich gambling industry.
Addendum: Long time readers know it was this same tainted pair—Steele and Scott—who brought us the Rule 11 debacle that ripped the party apart during the Murphy v. Ehrlich primary in 2010. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Bob Ehrlich is in on this too, but as chairman for the Romney campaign in Maryland he likely needs to keep his fingerprints off this one.