Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To O’Malley: Killing Video Slots Hurt Parochial Schools

Unfree State

In a recent interview, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley offered no relief for Southern Maryland parochial schools hurt when they lost major funding by O’Malley’s signing a bill that did away with video gaming terminals in the rural county.

When the reporter from the County Times of St. Mary’s County asked O’Malley if he planned on helping the schools -- which educate 20% of the county’s population -- with with another source of funding, O’Malley gave the following cryptic answer:

“I know we do something annually on textbooks; we did not cut that in the budget. It’s a challenge on the gambling front; but that bill didn’t eliminate all of the assorted charitable things,” O’Malley told the Times.

So, while cities like Baltimore and other heavily Democratic jurisdictions could greatly benefit from slots if they are legalized under O’Malley, it doesn’t appear the parochial schools of Republican-dominated St. Mary’s will!

What do you think?

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Crossposted on UnfreeState.com


Ortiz said...


A harbinger of stolen funds if slots are passed

The Baltimore Examiner Newspaper


If the state can’t properly handle the minuscule tax receipts generated by the horse racing industry, how will it handle slots taxes?

A new audit from the Department of Legislative Services shows the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation can’t follow basic accounting rules.

The person logging and preparing receipts for deposit was also the same person responsible for recording the payments in accounting records. Nothing in the audit accuses this person of defrauding the state. But at the very least, it leaves the state vulnerable to fraud. And lax oversight of wire transfers allowed racetracks to send in tax payments sometimes weeks past deadline, forcing the state to lose interest income.

The state collected $5.1 million in betting taxes and unredeemed winning tickets in 2007. So how does it expect to correctly process the up to $800 million the governor said slots could generate for the state treasury? That amount is likely grossly exaggerated. Tight credit markets and fewer dollars being spent on gambling due to the economy are the culprits. But even $400 million would overwhelm a state government ignorant of basic accounting principles. As the parable of the silver talents illuminates, those who cannot be trusted with small amounts should not be trusted with any amount.

Voters have not yet spoken on slots. But if the referendum passes in November, the state could be handling millions in new tax revenue by 2010.

To help slots pass, the governor must assure taxpayers controls will be in place for processing that money before the first coin hits the, uh, slot. It wouldn’t hurt to audit the personal financial records of employees who directly handle that money on a yearly basis too, to ensure compliance to the highest auditing standards. Doing so would have snagged the Washington tax officials caught last year cutting themselves checks for more than $30 million over at least seven years.

What’s clear is that without an overhaul on how the state collects its gambling money, the question is not if, but when, unscrupulous state employees defraud the taxpayers.

Soledmuse@yahoo.com said...

Totally off topic, but I learned recently about one Democrat's silly actions in the legislature and want to share...

Delegates new to Maryland's General Assembly, not unlike in Congress, have to focus their efforts to pass even a few laws beneficial to their constituents or the state as a whole in their first year. If they're really capable and focused, they might get a few of the proposals they sponsor turned into law.

That's why it may surprise you to learn that last year a new Montgomery Delegate, who only managed to pass three laws on which he was the lead sponsor, chose to focus on a bill to legalize fighting contests in our state.

Delegate Kirill Reznik (D), appointed by the local party to fill an opening, apparently decided that one of the three most important things he could do for the people of Montgomery County and the state of Maryland was to legalize mixed martial arts. While the fans of fighting competitions around the country applaud Del. Reznik for focusing on their sport, voters here in the county and state he is supposed to represent will probably be disappointed with the former owner of a martial arts academy in Florida who isn't paying attention to their needs.

Hey, Kirill, what about the economy, our schools, health care, jobs, protecting our rights, and the many other issues that Marylanders are worried about?

(links happily provided upon request...)