If Md. expands gambling, pre-K should be winner

Public school students would be the big loser if the tax rate is reduced for the owners of slots licenses ("Gambling's taxing issue," June 3).

Under current law, the tax rate on slots is 67 percent. Nearly half of the state's revenue (48.5 percent) goes directly to the Education Trust Fund. Those dollars can be used only for education. With five fully operating sites, $513.3 million is projected for the fund in Fiscal Year 2015.

However, that tax rate would be reduced by a third, to 42.5 percent, under a proposal by the developers of a sixth site at National Harbor inPrince George's County.

Instead of shrinking the allocation for education, we should expand it.

Academically enriched pre-kindergarten programs set students on a successful path of lifelong learning. Recent studies have highlighted both the short-term and long-term positive impacts that pre-K programs have on students' academic outcomes and students' preparedness for a 21st century skills-based economy.

If we authorize table games and target 10 percent of that revenue to pre-K, we would enable students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to enter schools on a more equitable path to opportunity.

Sen. Bill Ferguson and Del. Sandy Rosenberg, Baltimore

The writers, both Democrats, represent Baltimore's Districts 46 and 41, respectively.

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