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August 23, 2012

Costly With Few Benefits

Joan Marie Aquilino

This has been a whirlwind few weeks; the special session of The General Assembly put everything back an extra week. I spent nearly a week in Annapolis on the hurry-up-and-wait, ever non-productive schedule of our state government.


Being generous in my estimate from Thursday through Tuesday (wee hours of the morning) there might have been an actual amount of work done totaling eight hours. Yet, you and I, the average taxpayer, footed the bill to a tune of $25,000 per day.


I know I’ve repeated that number many times over; but it’s important that you know how much these special sessions, which are being called to fulfill the whims and wishes of one, maybe a couple of individuals, are costing you. Neither special session was a necessity, nor an emergency. Yet they were still called.


Having just paid my property taxes, I’m abundantly aware of how much taxes are costing me. If you want a point of reference about how the government spends your money, just look back a year ago and see how much you got from that ‘necessary alcohol tax increase. Lots of revenue came in. Did you see or feel any of the benefits. That answer would be no.


The latest special session was called to pass a gambling bill, which does nothing for you the citizen or your needs.


Oh, yes, there were lots of assumptions, many promises but no background historical knowledge, verification of facts, or research. There are lots of claims with no back up. Money, if there is any, will be funneled into the general fund, which is nothing more than a slush fund used to fund the ‘wishes’ and personal agenda of the Gov. Martin O’Malley. Once money goes in, it will certainly come back out. However, the norm is never to fund the items designated. I would be mightily surprised to see education getting any windfall.


Also, keep in mind that because of the passage of this bill, Prince George’s County will be getting state funded road improvements numbering in the millions – if not billions – of dollars just because of gambling and making the venue more accessible.


You won’t see a single road in or around Frederick County being “fixed” because of gambling. I beg you to ask, if gambling is so great and wonderful and – of course – profitable, why isn’t the entity building it also providing the funds for the road work? Why are you in Frederick County paying to fund the development of roads in another jurisdiction, and for a private business to boot? Certainly doesn’t sit well with me.


Why did the Speaker of The House’s office call a Veterans Caucus meeting, and why were the veterans wooed into giving their blessing on an amendment to share a few crumbs. I’ll tell you why. It’s because had they not pulled that last minute Hail Mary play, the votes weren’t there to pass this foolish, non-emergency bill.


The Veterans Clubs and the Frederick County Delegation have been trying to give the clubs the ability to have slots for many years. It literally came down to soul selling just to get enough votes.


I’m glad the veterans got the use of slots; they earned it and they deserve it. They are private clubs and should never have been denied. I’m just sorry for the way it came about.


I hope that prior to anyone going to the polls to vote this up or down in the referendum in November you take the time to educate yourself on the pros and cons and know exactly what you may be buying into. I will gladly point you to elected officials on both sides to give you their input.


Obvious to anyone who knows me, you’ll also know I work for Delegate Kelly Schulz whom I happen to think gave a very good explanation of the bill. And since I just happen to have it on hand, I will offer you a link to her newsletter. I will be more than happy to direct you to anyone else’s too, just email me.


Newsletter from Delegate Schulz on Special Session 2.0 - Gambling Bill


. . . . .'til next time . . .


As always, I’d love to hear from you; so, let me know what’s on your mind by emailing, or contacting me directly at


“Just Joan” saying, be safe and “don’t believe everything you think.”


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