Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Maryland - We Own That!

Martin O'Malley has been in the news a lot lately running around the state whining to elected state officials to get on his side and build more failing casinos.  He says more failing casinos will help raise tax dollars to fund his out-of-control spending.  This past week he met with the two beers of the General Assembly, Busch and Miller.  O'Malley wants to plop a new casino in what I believe is Miller's back yard.  It's his hope that perhaps this casino will help generate new revenue for the state, since the others aren't working out as expected.  Rocky Gap anyone?

I got to thinking.  There are a lot of government-owned entities in this state, either by the City of Baltimore or the State of Maryland.  Maryland owns several casinos now.  The state of Maryland.  The government of Maryland.  Not private businesses, but the government.  The casinos include Ocean Downs in West Ocean City, Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland Live! in Hanover, and an unbuilt unwanted casino in Rocky Gap.  Oh, and Baltimore wants one, too.  I think the deal Rawlings-Blake was trying to sell to the casino industry is "you raise a lot of money with gambling, we take it all, and everyone's happy!"

Outside of the casinos, the government also owns the Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort.  Then there are the stadiums and arenas - Orioles Park at Camden Yards, PSiNet/Ravens/M&T Bank stadium, and the First Mariner Baltimore Arena Civic Center.  Oh, let's not forget the former Festival Hall and the Baltimore Convention Center.  Speaking of convention centers, the City of Baltimore owns the 752 room convention center hotel with the Hilton sign on it.

The Maryland Zoo - that's owned by the City of Baltimore.  BWI airport and Martin State Airport - both owned by the state.  Baltimore Metro Subway and Baltimore Light Rail - both owned by the state.

How about boats?  Police boats and fire boats, they make sense for state and local governments to own, right?  What about a clipper topsail schooner?  We call it the Pride of Baltimore II.  It's owned by the state of Maryland.

Entertainment?  The National Aquarium in Baltimore is owned by the City of Baltimore (though managed by a non-profit organization).  The Maryland State Fairgrounds and the adjoining Timonium Race Course - owned by the state of Maryland.

Need to park?  Baltimore City owns 17 parking garages and 23 surface lots throughout the city through the Parking Authority of Baltimore City.

I'm sure there are many more examples.  And I'd love to hear them if you can think of any.

Isn't there a general agreement in a free society that the government should not be in direct competition with private business?  As I recall from my economics classes in college, it's called socialism when the government owns what should be considered private enterprise.  Isn't that what we're trying to avoid?  What?  No???  Oh, well, never mind then.

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