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Maryland budget deficit looms as lottery revenue falls off

Maryland LotteryMaryland Lottery: Maryland budget deficit looms as lottery revenue falls off

Maryland's lottery has been slowing down as a revenue source for years and will continue to underperform as residents seek other gambling ventures, including betting on slot machines in neighboring states, budget analysts and state officials say.

The lottery "has been, until very recently, the third-largest general fund revenues source," said David Roose, director of the state's Bureau of Revenue Estimates. "But in the last few years the corporate income tax has become the third-largest."

"They may have seen some growth in the lottery [sales], but relative to growth in the economy, it's not keeping track," said Tori Gorman, a former economist for the state legislature.

At its peak in fiscal 1986, the Maryland Lottery provided $323 million, or 7.8 percent of the state's $4.2 billion in revenue, a state official said.

In fiscal 2006, which ended June 30, the lottery produced $480 million, or 3.9 percent of the state's $12.9 billion in revenue. The state lottery was created in 1973 and first produced revenue in fiscal 1975.

The lottery's diminishing contribution to the state budget is one of many reasons why Maryland is facing nearly $8 billion in deficits over the next five years, analysts say.

Most of the state's economic growth has occurred among high-income earners, who do not regularly play the lottery, said Mrs. Gorman, who co-wrote a recent budget study for the Maryland Public Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group.

That is one reason the lottery, despite its growing ticket sales, does not add as much to the budget, she said, adding that lottery players tend to be lower-income workers.

But Maryland Lottery Director Buddy W. Roogow said the state is losing customers to slot machine gambling in Delaware, West Virginia, and Atlantic City, N.J.

"The biggest customers of Delaware slots are Marylanders," Mr. Roogow said. "I've been told by the Delaware Lottery folks that around 35 percent of their players come from Maryland."

Marylanders account for as much as 40 percent of slot machine players in Charlestown, W.Va., he said.

The Democrat-controlled General Assembly stymied attempts by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, to legalize slot machines.

State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Southern Maryland Democrat, strongly supports slots, but House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel County Democrat, still strongly opposes them, as do many state lawmakers.

Although Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley, Democrat, has said that he favors limited slots at horse-racing tracks, he also has said that he does not see them as a source of revenue.

Some legislators disagree.

"We know without a doubt that there's $400 [million] to $500 million a year leaving the state right now to go play slots in West Virginia and Delaware, and Pennsylvania just approved 1,000 machines that will be up and running within another 12 months," said state Sen. Patrick J. Hogan, Montgomery County Democrat.

Mr. Hogan is vice chairman of the budget committee, which will be the legislature's ground zero for the next few years as it tries to reconcile spending totals with revenue totals.

The state is required by the constitution to balance the budget each year.

Mrs. Gorman said the state could cut the anticipated budget deficits by about 40 percent by maximizing revenue from in-state gambling and from the sales tax, which she said is not keeping pace with economic growth.

"The state has a relatively narrow tax base on sales tax because it doesn't include a lot of services," said Mahlon Straszheim, economics professor at the University of Maryland at College Park.

State Sen.-elect Richard S. Madaleno, Montgomery County Democrat, has said that the state should consider broadening the number of items covered under the sales tax.

The remaining 60 percent of the deficit, Mrs. Gorman said, would have to come from spending cuts and waste elimination.

Income and sales taxes account for about 75 percent of the state's revenue.

Washington Times

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16 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by rdc137.
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United States
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Posted: November 29, 2006, 9:55 am - IP Logged

In another forum I suggested Maryland, which has a low population among the Mega Millions states, consider switching from MM to Powerball/MUSL. The reason is that Maryland would then be eligible to offer Hot Lotto, which has higher jackpot potential than a Maryland-only game, especially if HL were to change its matrixes.

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    Delaware
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    Posted: November 29, 2006, 10:16 am - IP Logged

    In another forum I suggested Maryland, which has a low population among the Mega Millions states, consider switching from MM to Powerball/MUSL. The reason is that Maryland would then be eligible to offer Hot Lotto, which has higher jackpot potential than a Maryland-only game, especially if HL were to change its matrixes.

    Doubtful. If I recall, Maryland was among the first Big Game states. If anything, they should add Powerball to the line up, in addition to Mega Millions. Hot Lotto probably won't last much longer in the MUSL's line up.


      United States
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      Posted: November 29, 2006, 10:32 am - IP Logged

      Doubtful. If I recall, Maryland was among the first Big Game states. If anything, they should add Powerball to the line up, in addition to Mega Millions. Hot Lotto probably won't last much longer in the MUSL's line up.

      Maryland is one of the six original BG states.

      HL added Kansas this year, and New Mexico this month. HL will be around a while longer, especially if the matrixes are changed. Plus HL currently has a record jackpot.

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        Delaware
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        Posted: November 29, 2006, 10:38 am - IP Logged

        Maryland is one of the six original BG states.

        HL added Kansas this year, and New Mexico this month. HL will be around a while longer, especially if the matrixes are changed. Plus HL currently has a record jackpot.

        But it is computerized, and the drawings are not broadcast, a double whammy. It is a bad game.

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          January 23, 2005
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          Posted: November 29, 2006, 10:34 pm - IP Logged

          I was in MD last weekend but I didn't play much there, just a Bonus Match 5. On 3 lines I had no matches. I think the reason is I have no system because their website is extremely difficult to translate into raw data. I downloaded the pages and then when I tried to retrieve them they came up blank. The #s are bunched-up and out of order on the site and you have to go to every month separately. Most other sites give past draw history in a tidy downloadable format. When I don't have the data, I don't have a system, and when I don't have a system, I usually don't play.

            four4me's avatar - gate1
            MD
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            Posted: December 1, 2006, 12:10 am - IP Logged

            I was in MD last weekend but I didn't play much there, just a Bonus Match 5. On 3 lines I had no matches. I think the reason is I have no system because their website is extremely difficult to translate into raw data. I downloaded the pages and then when I tried to retrieve them they came up blank. The #s are bunched-up and out of order on the site and you have to go to every month separately. Most other sites give past draw history in a tidy downloadable format. When I don't have the data, I don't have a system, and when I don't have a system, I usually don't play.

            if you have excel go the the winning numbers page and click the link

            Download The Historical Winning Numbers In Microsoft Excel Format

             

            you should get the whole history..... sometimes it's not completly up to date but you can fill in any information by copying and pasting. 

            Big John says. You don't hit the number. The number hits you!!!!

                           I'm not Big John, I'm Four4me, Big John's a friend.
              four4me's avatar - gate1
              MD
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              Posted: December 1, 2006, 12:26 am - IP Logged

              Maryland doesn't need powerball we are surrounded by powerball states if anything people come to Maryland to play mega. hot lotto is one of the hardest games to hit.

              Marylander income deficits is not the lotteries fault it the leaders of our state fault for not generating any large income based enterprise. Every time some big corporation threatens to leave when they go to the bargaining table the leaders of our state wouldn't bend and inch so the large companies pack up and roll out. Not to include there taxing us to death. people are not happy living in the city crime is abundant.

              if our leaders would work to make Maryland a place where large companies would want to set up and operate we would get back on track. Slots aren't the answer to fixing the deficit. If anything they'll cause more crime.

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                Delaware
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                Posted: December 1, 2006, 12:53 am - IP Logged

                Maryland doesn't need powerball we are surrounded by powerball states if anything people come to Maryland to play mega. hot lotto is one of the hardest games to hit.

                Marylander income deficits is not the lotteries fault it the leaders of our state fault for not generating any large income based enterprise. Every time some big corporation threatens to leave when they go to the bargaining table the leaders of our state wouldn't bend and inch so the large companies pack up and roll out. Not to include there taxing us to death. people are not happy living in the city crime is abundant.

                if our leaders would work to make Maryland a place where large companies would want to set up and operate we would get back on track. Slots aren't the answer to fixing the deficit. If anything they'll cause more crime.

                Not only that, but Maryland has to compete with more business-friendly states as Virginia and especially Delaware. I have had dealings with the MD tax department in the past. When I talked to one of the higher-ups, they acted as if they have a devine right to tax Delaware. In fact, Maryland has a law that any Delaware company employing Maryland residents is required to withhold Maryland taxes. Of course, this is unenforceable for any company not doing business in Maryland, but they still try to bully people (DE is not part of any reciporcal withholding agreements. MD is with all of its neighbors except DE.).

                People in MD need to wake up and realize when you have people like Schaffer in charge of tax collections, who has admited he believes in taxes in the broadest definition, you are going to have a stupidly high tax state.

                  four4me's avatar - gate1
                  MD
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                  Posted: December 1, 2006, 1:33 am - IP Logged
                  there also going to raise the cigarette tax another buck. what kills me about this is tobacco made this country what it is today. we have grown and sold tobacco since the first settlers came to this country. of course i know tobacco is bad for you but if they want to do something about it then pull it off the shelves. before long there will be no place for smokers to smoke here as they are being driven away from every establishment. 
                  yet i can go to the ball park and breathe creosote smoke from Boog Powels barbeque pits all over the stadium there is no place to hide from it.  
                    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                    Tennessee
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                    Posted: December 1, 2006, 1:46 am - IP Logged

                    all this politically correctness is hurting more than helping in my opinion.and you are right.why ban cigarette smoke when there is other stuff a lot worse than that your breathing at the stadium.can't even smoke in a bar in a lot of places.its silly.thats what a bar is for is to smoke and drink.if you would've told somebody twenty years ago smoking in bars would be illegal they would've laughed.i do think there will come a day where cigarettes are outlawed even in cars.could you imagine feeling like a pothead trying to hide a regular cigarette while driving,lol.all the sudden your driving and yikes!! the police saw you with a lit cigarette dangling from your lips.the car smells like smoke!!! better get rid of those marlboros or go to jail! its a felony,lol.freakin ridiculous but probable.never say never.....

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                      Delaware
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                      Posted: December 1, 2006, 1:58 am - IP Logged

                      all this politically correctness is hurting more than helping in my opinion.and you are right.why ban cigarette smoke when there is other stuff a lot worse than that your breathing at the stadium.can't even smoke in a bar in a lot of places.its silly.thats what a bar is for is to smoke and drink.if you would've told somebody twenty years ago smoking in bars would be illegal they would've laughed.i do think there will come a day where cigarettes are outlawed even in cars.could you imagine feeling like a pothead trying to hide a regular cigarette while driving,lol.all the sudden your driving and yikes!! the police saw you with a lit cigarette dangling from your lips.the car smells like smoke!!! better get rid of those marlboros or go to jail! its a felony,lol.freakin ridiculous but probable.never say never.....

                      Put aside the argument about smoker's rights vs. public health....

                      If you are smoking around a bunch of non-smokers it's just plain rude!

                      NJ is considering a ban on smoking while driving (I'm serious). I would only agree to that when children are in the car. I am sickened by the thoughts of mothers smoking around their children. Worry about your kids more than your smokes for crying out loud!

                      Delaware was among the first states to ban smoking. Most claimed it would kill the restaurants. Some went under when people flocked to MD and PA to smoke. However, non-smokers from MD and PA started coming to Delaware, and a lot of bars saw increased business, particularly in the Wilmington area from younger people.

                        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                        Tennessee
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                        Posted: December 1, 2006, 2:54 am - IP Logged

                        i was pointing out the political correctness part....HOWEVER

                        you'd be surprised to know that i HATE smoking.i quit six years ago this christmas.i smoked three packs a day.i have a mother who is killing herself lighting one after another.she has been smoking for nearly 40 years.i'm begging her to stop.the doctors have warned her over and over.to no avail.she'll quit because she wants to see her grandkids grow up but after a few weeks the urge gets to strong.so i say to her you can't smoke a cigarette dead in your casket.i have to be blunt about this and it hurts her but i don't know how us to get to the core of the problem.buddy i'd ban them cancer killers in a new york minute.might save somebody life.too late for my mother and that really pains me.its a subject we discuss quite a bit.she coughs all through the night when she visits me and me and my family don't get a lot of rest but i'm not going to hurt her feelings by bringing it up that i was awake listening half the night.however i will tell her she was coughing a lot and i want her to quit smoking because its killing her.she says she will....tomorrow.No Nod

                          LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                          Tennessee
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                          Posted: December 1, 2006, 8:12 am - IP Logged
                          there also going to raise the cigarette tax another buck. what kills me about this is tobacco made this country what it is today. we have grown and sold tobacco since the first settlers came to this country. of course i know tobacco is bad for you but if they want to do something about it then pull it off the shelves. before long there will be no place for smokers to smoke here as they are being driven away from every establishment. 
                          yet i can go to the ball park and breathe creosote smoke from Boog Powels barbeque pits all over the stadium there is no place to hide from it.  
                          Fired for Smoking Off the Job, Man Sues
                          By Scott Malone, Reuters

                           

                          BOSTON (Nov. 30) - A Massachusetts man fired for smoking while off duty has sued his former company, saying its policy of not employing smokers serves no business purpose and that a urine test for nicotine violates privacy rights, his lawyer said Thursday.

                          Scott Rodrigues was fired by Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. after a mandatory urine test showed evidence of nicotine in his system, lawyer Harvey Schwartz said. The lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court Wednesday seeks unspecified damages against the supplier of lawn and garden products.

                          "Whether or not he smokes has no impact on his job performance," said Schwartz.

                          He said he was aiming to have Massachusetts declare Scotts' policy illegal. "The company seems fairly messianic in its desire not to employ smokers," the lawyer said.

                          The lawsuit said Rodrigues, 30, never smoked at work and noted that Scotts' health-related policies do not restrict "skydiving ... owning dangerous pets ... or spreading toxic chemicals on lawns."

                          The suit claimed Scotts had no right to test Rodrigues' urine for nicotine, since smoking outside the office is legal.

                          Scotts in December adopted a policy of not hiring smokers, citing the high costs of providing them with health insurance.

                          Jim King, a vice president at Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts, said the company has not seen the lawsuit and he could not address it. But he did comment on the policy.

                          "While we're not interested in dictating our employees' behavior in their free time, we look at smoking differently," King said. "Smoking is completely incompatible with a culture that's trying to improve wellness."

                          Several U.S. states have banned smoking at work, restaurants and bars.

                          While employers may restrict smoking in the workplace, most U.S. states have laws preventing companies from refusing to employ people who smoke outside the office. Massachusetts is one of about 20 states that does not have such a law.

                          Other major U.S. companies with policies limiting the hiring of smokers include Union Pacific Corp and Alaska Air Group Inc.

                          One legal expert said Rodrigues would have a hard time proving his case, due to Massachusetts employment laws.

                          "The basic rule of employment at will is you can fire someone for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all as long as it's not on the list of prohibited reasons," said Katharine Silbaugh, a visiting professor at the Harvard School of Law. "You don't like the Red Sox? I can fire you for that. You smoke? I can fire you for that."

                            Avatar
                            Delaware
                            United States
                            Member #30273
                            January 14, 2006
                            494 Posts
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                            Posted: December 1, 2006, 10:38 am - IP Logged
                            Fired for Smoking Off the Job, Man Sues
                            By Scott Malone, Reuters

                             

                            BOSTON (Nov. 30) - A Massachusetts man fired for smoking while off duty has sued his former company, saying its policy of not employing smokers serves no business purpose and that a urine test for nicotine violates privacy rights, his lawyer said Thursday.

                            Scott Rodrigues was fired by Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. after a mandatory urine test showed evidence of nicotine in his system, lawyer Harvey Schwartz said. The lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court Wednesday seeks unspecified damages against the supplier of lawn and garden products.

                            "Whether or not he smokes has no impact on his job performance," said Schwartz.

                            He said he was aiming to have Massachusetts declare Scotts' policy illegal. "The company seems fairly messianic in its desire not to employ smokers," the lawyer said.

                            The lawsuit said Rodrigues, 30, never smoked at work and noted that Scotts' health-related policies do not restrict "skydiving ... owning dangerous pets ... or spreading toxic chemicals on lawns."

                            The suit claimed Scotts had no right to test Rodrigues' urine for nicotine, since smoking outside the office is legal.

                            Scotts in December adopted a policy of not hiring smokers, citing the high costs of providing them with health insurance.

                            Jim King, a vice president at Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts, said the company has not seen the lawsuit and he could not address it. But he did comment on the policy.

                            "While we're not interested in dictating our employees' behavior in their free time, we look at smoking differently," King said. "Smoking is completely incompatible with a culture that's trying to improve wellness."

                            Several U.S. states have banned smoking at work, restaurants and bars.

                            While employers may restrict smoking in the workplace, most U.S. states have laws preventing companies from refusing to employ people who smoke outside the office. Massachusetts is one of about 20 states that does not have such a law.

                            Other major U.S. companies with policies limiting the hiring of smokers include Union Pacific Corp and Alaska Air Group Inc.

                            One legal expert said Rodrigues would have a hard time proving his case, due to Massachusetts employment laws.

                            "The basic rule of employment at will is you can fire someone for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all as long as it's not on the list of prohibited reasons," said Katharine Silbaugh, a visiting professor at the Harvard School of Law. "You don't like the Red Sox? I can fire you for that. You smoke? I can fire you for that."

                            Thanks for the good laugh! Green laugh

                             If you don't want to pay for benefits for smokers, DON'T HIRE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!