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Monday, November 05, 2007

Slots & Taxes: What our legislators are saying (part 10)

(Posted 5 Nov 2007)
Laurel Park's neighbors not sold on slots; Worrying about congestion, public safety, gambling's ills.
Annapolis Capital, 4 Nov 2007 (Stewart).
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Senator Jim Rosapepe, D-College Park, is not enamoured with slots at Laurel Park, which is in his district, but he isn't against them.

Del. Ben Barnes, D-College Park, is against them, but said they are inevitable in Maryland.

He just wants to make sure that when they arrive, everyone is prepared, particularly when it comes to public safety.

"If you look at most studies on the issues, crime goes up in the area. The gambling industry itself calls slot machines the crack cocaine of gambling. I think that is very telling of itself," he said.
Md. Budget Crisis: Tattoo Artists, Home Designers Say Sales Tax Proposal is Picking on Them.
Southern Maryland Online, 4 Nov 2007 (Docksai).
An unlikely alliance of tattoo artists and interior designers testified Saturday against a proposal to extend the sales tax to their services, one of dozens of revenue-generating bills heard by a House committee.

The bill [HB 18], co-sponsored by Delegates Justin Ross, D-Prince George's, and Anne Kaiser, D-Montgomery, would also declare body piercing, tanning salons, home-moving services, and swimming pool and hot tub cleaning as "taxable services" subject to the sales tax.

Ross said after the hearing that he chose these services because he considers them "luxury" services.

"Most folks would agree that those are services that are not necessities. If people choose to use them, fantastic -- but it's an economic choice," he said.

Taxing those services would raise about $13 million a year for the state, according to legislative analysts, although they said the amount from tattooing and body piercing was too small to be estimated.

Ross said that at a time when Maryland is facing a budget deficit of $1.7 billion next year, luxury services are fair game for new taxes.

"We've got to find revenue wherever we can," he said.
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Slots bill vague on Arundel location; Though 3 sites are eligible in county, legislators assert Laurel Park is target.
Sun, 4 Nov 2007 (McGowan).
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Del. Ben Barnes, a Democrat whose district includes Laurel Park, said the racetrack is the target of the current legislation. That belief, he said, is based in part on his discussions with the governor's office and State House leaders.

"It's clearly intended to be Laurel Park. It's definitely Laurel Park. There's no other qualifying location," he said.
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