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Governor: Md. gambling debate caused budget gridlock

Thursday - 4/12/2012, 12:35pm  ET

OMalley640.jpg
(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Governor

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks with WTOP's Mark Segraves

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Paul D. Shinkman, wtop.com
Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The governor of Maryland said Thursday that much of the gridlock in Annapolis that has kept the legislature from passing a budget is due to recent arguments over gambling in the state.

"We had a compromise and a consensus, and for some reason it broke down," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, while speaking on WTOP's "Ask the Governor." "The legislature gridlocked in the final minutes."

All Maryland politicians are to blame, he says.

There is "certainly" a breakdown between Speaker of the House of Delegates Mike Busch and State Senate President Thomas Miller, both Democrats, O'Malley says. He blames Miller for making gambling a priority of the Senate and "crowding out" transportation issues.

The proposed legislation, which failed in the General Assembly at midnight Monday, would have allowed table games at five casino sites currently allowed under law, and would have permitted such games at a new gambling venue in Prince George's County.

The governor tweeted Thursday morning he would be open to calling a special session to pass the budget, which takes effect on July 1, if both chambers reach an agreement. He says everyone in the Maryland government is responsible for this situation.

O'Malley addressed recent concerns by county officials over speed camera enforcement at the county level, which does not carry any financial penalties for not paying on time. The governor says some at the state level have argued that allowing counties to increase those fines would turn these tickets from a law enforcement tool to a revenue generator.

He also says another Potomac River crossing, perhaps near Point-of-Rocks, is not likely in his term. O'Malley and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had considered seriously the idea of that bridge earlier this year.

O'Malley's successor might be able to build that bridge.

Check out these other highlights from the program, and a full live blog, below:

10:57 a.m., speaking about title fees going up:

I'm not aware of that going up.

10:56 a.m., speaking about requiring front and rear license plates:

The reason given is safety.

10:55 a.m., speaking about another Potomac crossing around Point of Rocks:

That won't happen in my term. You can ask Gov. Anthony Brown when he takes office.

10:53 a.m., speaking about President Obama reducing the pledged amount of matching funds for Metro funding:

I've spoken to our congressional delegation, we'll work through the federal process to restore those funds.

I think the president is under a tremendous amount of responsibility to put forward a budget that brings down the Bush deficit.

10:52 a.m., speaking about fines for texting while driving:

It generates about $6-9 million annually. The legislature could earmark that as a revenue source for transportation. But we need about $700 million for transportation issues.

10:47 a.m., speaking about state workers using state vehicles for personal use:

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