ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - House Speaker Michael Busch said a meeting with Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Senate president Tuesday resulted in "no conclusion" on whether to call lawmakers back to Annapolis to vote on expanding gambling in Maryland.
Busch, who presides over the chamber where gambling measures have greater difficulty in passing, spoke very briefly to reporters after meeting with O'Malley and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller for about an hour at the governor's residence.
"We just sat in there and tried to make an assessment of what we thought where people were during the middle of the summer and came really to no conclusion, so that was about it, but the breakfast was delicious," Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said as he walked away from reporters who asked additional questions.
Miller, who supports expanding gambling to include table games and a casino in Prince George's County, told reporters he believes there are people who need more persuading or, at least, to be asked.
"We need some elbow grease," Miller, D-Calvert, said. "We need some hard work, and we need some elected officials to humble themselves and ask and find a way to make this happen."
O'Malley, who has said he wants to call a special session this summer to address the gambling issue, was late for an event in Cockeysville and did not speak with reporters.
A key difficulty in reaching an agreement involves whether to lower the state's high 67 percent tax on slot machine revenue. Members of the House of Delegates have resisted the idea, particularly since the Legislature raised income taxes in a special session earlier this year on people who earn more than $100,000 a year.
Discussions have involved creating a gaming commission to make the decision on gambling tax rates, instead of lawmakers.
Miller said Tuesday he believes that's a good idea.
"That's certainly on the table, and I think that make sense quite frankly," Miller said, noting that it would be better to have expert economists and accountants making those decisions instead of lawmakers.
O'Malley said Monday he believes a decision will need to be made on whether to call a special session in the next week to 10 days.
MGM Resorts International wants to build an $800 million casino at National Harbor in Prince George's County, near the nation's capital. MGM has estimated the project would create 2,000 construction jobs and about 4,000 permanent jobs.
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