Miller wants to expand gambling and raise gas and flush taxes

Senate President Mike Miller told county officials from across Maryland on Friday that he wants to expand casino gambling, increase the gas tax and push some of the costs of state pensions onto the counties.

Senate President Mike Miller

None of these positions from Miller are new, except for another proposal to eliminate the estate tax on family farms. But he said he could pass the gas tax in the Senate and probably an increase in the unpopular flush tax to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Speaking on the same panel at the Maryland Association of Counties annual meeting, House Speaker Michael Busch took no position on the tax hikes. But he said in an interview that expansion of gambling especially into Prince George’s County, as Miller wants, would be difficult to pass the House.

Senate Republican Leader E.J. Pipkin gave no encouragement that any Republicans would support any tax increases, but continued his theme that Gov. Martin O’Malley was continuing a “war on rural Maryland.”

“Politics is about cuts and revenues,” Miller said. “We’re going to come up with revenues.”

But he conceded, “It’s hard to cobble the votes together to get these things done,” especially with Republicans refusing to vote for the state’s operating and capital budgets, even while they want the state aid provided to their jurisdictions.

“If you want capital projects, you’ve got to vote for the budget,” Miller said.

Busch continued to defend the spending choices to increase aid education, particularly to rural counties. He said Pipkin’s attempt to pit the urban counties against the rural areas was the wrong message.

“I hope it’s not going to become a divisive session,” Busch said. But he did note that none of the 43 Republican delegates in the House voted for the budget last year.

Del. Addie Eckardt, R-Talbot, a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee, said it was hard to vote for the capital budget when Republicans are not included in the preliminary decisions behind closed doors.

—Len Lazarick

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Bushman

    Disagree with a drop in consumption.  An increase in the gas tax would not be just for MDers – EVERYONE passing through the State (Truckers on I-70 and I-95, snow birds heading to FLA, PA and OHIO residents coming to Ocean City for vacation , darn NY Yankee fans coming down to see their Yankees play the O’s – etc,etc,etc,) would pay.  Gas is a necessity and everyone uses it somewhere somehow – tax that.  Don’t tax luxury items like alcohol or tobacco.  Small to almost nill long term advantage.  Not to mention MDers knowing they can drive to DE or VA or DC to purchase those items and ZERO benefit to MD.  Monkey County is the worst for taxing their community by placing additional taxes on alcohol, tobacco and SODAs.   Gambling is important too – build it and MDers will stay and spend their money in MD rather than PA, DE and WVA.  Seems those gov’t have no problem AT ALL with keeping their hands out of the cookie jar and everyone prospers.  Sad when those states LAUGH at MD when taking revenue that should be spent in MD.   Gambling,drinking,smoking are personal choices.  Gasoline is mostly not – but its also not a tax for only MDers – EVERYONE (out of state included) pays! 

    • Anonymous

      Sorry I have to disagree with you since a family member is in the gasoline delivery business.. When pump prices climb, overall product deliveries go down. During our highest gas prices, even consumption at the MD & Chesapeake Houses on I95 saw a steep drop in gasoline sales. Ditto for stations along other major interstate roads. My main point concerning increasing taxes is that no matter how much the state takes in, it is NEVER ENOUGH! The legislature always wants to spend more & more. As for MoCo, ask any longtime county resident how they feel about the quality of life currently. Those who can leave, are booking out ASAP.

  2. Anonymous

    When Miller, O’Malley & Busch & the state legislature pays for the upkeep of my septic tank & my private $10,000 well, then we can talk about hiking the regressive flush tax. As for adding more $$ in taxes at the gas pump, pass it & watch consumption drop with less revenue coming into the state coffer! It’s hypocritical for these state leaders to talk about expanding gambling now after all the big stink of a few years ago. They’ve proven that it wasn’t the morality of promoting gambling to fill the piggy bank.  It was all about politics.

    The Democrats in Annapolis just don’t get it. We remember the TV ads about “a fee is a tax if it comes out of my pocket” run during the last state election. We watch our purchasing power diminish whenever we shop at the grocery store, buy a six pack or fill up at the gas pump. Yet our august leaders continue to demand more $$ to be extracted from our pockets to cover an out of control budget that increases year after year while promoting windmills, road construction & social issues.


  3. Mdneedshelp

    Komrades OweMalley,Miller and Busch are Life long Politico Idiots who’s answers to Mary-land spending problems that they caused is Raise taxes.
    It’s what they and the liberal Idiots in Assapolis know only what to do…Keep voting these morons in and it’ will cost you to breathe air here soon.

  4. Jim

    Mike Miller is proof of how out of touch the Maryland Democrats are with the reality of trying to live in this state.
    People are already having a hard time paying at the pumps, raising the tax on fuel is only going to bring about a lower standard of living in a State that is already suffering.
    The flush tax is not exactly a fair tax, those of us that have and maintain our septic systems receive nothing from the state to keep those systems in working order. Exactly what is it we are paying for?
     Gambling is fine, its a revenue source that one chooses to pay into. I choose not to pay into it.
     The Democrats are constantly looking to take more from the citizens to pay for their out of control spending, but they not only fail to see the cost of embracing the “New Americans” but they continue to make it more attractive for those illegals to come here and cripple our economy.
    The working citizens of Maryland cannot afford any more increase in their budgets, enough is enough. It is way past time for the democrats to get their hands out of our pockets and do some real work, and that work is to CUT spending. Cuts in social services, no money to CASA no services to non Americans.
     This will be an issue in the next round of elections, and those that have no clue what it is to live on an income that has been going down over the last few years need to be sent back home to suffer what they have created.


  1. Presiding Officers, Senate Minority Leader, and Governor’s Chief Legislative and Policy Advisor Give General Assembly Forecast « Conduit Street - [...] reported by Senate President Mike Miller told county officials from across that Maryland that he wants to [...]

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