The ‘No on 7’ campaign begins

First out of the gate in terms of issue advocacy is the “No on 7” group which announced its presence Thursday with a new website and television ad.

Their chair, Jacqueline Goodall, had this to say about their effort:

We are excited to get the facts out about the merits of Question 7. This ad is only the beginning of a serious effort to inform Maryland voters on the consequences of the proposed gaming expansion. The costs of another casino in Maryland exceed the benefits, and voters do not deserve to be misled by false promises and misinformation.

Question 7 is the result of a rushed special session and secret negotiations that have ignored the concerns of our residents and communities statewide. Between now and November, we look forward to an open and honest debate on the facts.

The facts, as they have them, pay particular attention to the tax rates which will be paid by casino operators and lack of transparency in the process. Compare this to the jobs-based approach being used by casino proponents and they could have an uphill battle.

They don’t need to convince me to vote against Question 7, but my opposition is more to the ignorant process the state is using by the need to change the Constitution every time another casino or table games are needed. Isn’t that what a General Assembly is supposed to do? Instead, they get the fun of changing tax rates at whim and moving the money promised to education around – and they didn’t need the voters to do that.

What should have been done in this General Assembly was to submit a Constitutional change rescinding the restrictive language passed in 2008 and replace it with language similar to that which allowed the Maryland Lottery. That agency has the freedom to change games at will, select whatever outlets it wants, and so forth. No need to vote on whether the corner store can start selling Powerball tickets.

If we vote against Question 7, perhaps the General Assembly can get to work on rectifying the problem knowing that voters are watching what they do.

It’s also interesting to note that one of the largest voting blocs in the state – Democrats in Montgomery County – has a leadership which, on balance, opposes the bill, according to David Moon and Maryland Juice. Needless to say, they’re unanimously supporting gay marriage and in-state tuition for illegal aliens, so the split on gambling is quite intriguing. I guess they really don’t want tax cuts for anyone, even casino owners.

Meanwhile, we now know the air war has been joined.