Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office put out a statement late Friday afternoon regarding her testimony today and support for expanded gambling — now referred to as "gaming" by enthusiastic politicos — in the state.
A special session of the Maryland General Assembly was called this week by Gov. Martin O'Malley to create legislation that would allow table games, such as blackjack, poker and roulette, at the state's previously approved slot machine sites.
O'Malley's recent proposal also would allow a sixth state casino in Prince George's County.
Blake says that expanded gambling in the state will create jobs and "also bring additional revenue to the State’s Education Trust Fund, which provides the majority of Baltimore City Public Schools funding."
Her entire statement is here:
Today, I testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of the bill to expand gaming in Maryland. This legislation will help us establish a world-class, competitive gaming and entertainment destination that will create more jobs, provide additional education funding to the State, help reduce property taxes for city homeowners, and fund school construction with local revenue.
As we recover from the Great Recession, it is important that we do everything we can to help create jobs. Expanding gaming in Maryland to allow for table games means more job opportunities at a time when we need them most. In Baltimore, we estimate that allowing table games will create an additional 500 job opportunities.
When you look at all Baltimore has to offer—our beautiful harbor, hotels, restaurants, major league sports stadiums, and other attractions—you can see that our casino project will only add to and strengthen the city’s existing assets. With a more competitive product, the new site will attract thousands more visitors to Baltimore and support our tourism economy.
Table games will also bring additional revenue to the State’s Education Trust Fund, which provides the majority of Baltimore City Public Schools funding. My father helped establish the City-State partnership for our schools. If not for funding from the State’s Education Trust fund, Baltimore’s Schools would not have achieved the great progress they’ve made.
Finally, the success of the project is an important component of our goal of growing Baltimore’s population by 10,000 families. When you ask families what they need to come to Baltimore and stay in Baltimore, lower property taxes are of the utmost importance. We have put forward a smart and responsible plan to cut property taxes for homeowners 20 cents by 2020. A profitable facility is one of the only tangible ways that Baltimore will be able to lower property taxes for city homeowners.
Today, I asked our leaders in Annapolis for their support of the legislation so that Baltimore can create jobs, strengthen our public schools, and lower property taxes. This legislation recognizes the need to make Maryland’s gaming program as competitive as possible while giving the voters of Maryland the final say on the issue.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my website or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow the Mayor’s Office and be a part of the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.
Mayor, City of Baltimore"