Maryland residents to decide future of sports betting, budget process this November
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In a little over a month Maryland voters will be heading to the polls to answer two very important questions that could change the way the state views the current budget process, and sports betting.
“The referendums, they’re handing the decisions to the voters, I think that’s a smart way to go about it,” said Delegate Chris Adams (R-District 37B).
The first question will allow voters to decide if state lawmakers should have the same budgetary powers as the Governor, including deciding which priorities get funded, or not.
“Right now the General Assembly can decrease a line item that is in the budget, but this would allow the General Assembly to completely move money within the budget,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman (R-District 38C).
Currently, Maryland is one of, if not the only state, where legislators don’t have the power to move around funding within the governor’s annual budget. But lawmakers here on the eastern shore say it’s for a good reason.
“Our Maryland history has shown that the legislature has bankrupted Maryland. Changing that back could lead in the future to another scenario that is similar to what we faced in the 70s with overspending,” said Delegate Carl Anderton (R-District 38B).
Also on the ballot? A question of whether or not Maryland should finally legalize sports betting in the state. A move that’s been highly anticipated for years.
“We should do it in Maryland. Right now it’s done in Delaware and New Jersey and other places, and that’s Maryland dollars leaving,” said Anderton.
Lawmakers say the benefits of allowing sports betting could be significant for Maryland.
“It’s expected to raise anywhere from $18 million according to the Department of Legislative Services I’m hearing numbers as high as $20-$40 million in revenue,” said Hartman.
“This prohibits the state from having to look for ways to raise taxes and this is not in any way a climate where we need to be raising taxes,” said Anderton.
But no matter what, lawmakers say whatever you do, make sure you go out and vote.
“It’s important for people to vote, to go all the way down the ballot,” said Anderton.
If Marylanders vote to allow the legislature to have more budgetary power, that law would go into effect in 2024 after Governor Larry Hogan has left office.