The Washington Times - September 8, 2008, 06:52PM

Appearing on The (New) Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-FM in Baltimore this evening, Gov. Martin O’Malley had some trouble recalling some important details about his slots plan, specifically where the money would go.

“I don’t have that off the top of my head,” O’Malley said.

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That being said by the governor, here’s how the proceeds from the 15,000 slot machines would be distributed if approved by voters in November:

- 48.5 - 51.0 percent would go to an education trust fund

- 33 percent would go to the slot parlor operators

- 7 percent would go for additional prize money at race tracks

- 5.5 percent would go to local governments

- 2.5 percent would pay for a racetrack renewal fund

- 2 percent would go to the state lottery to cover the costs of overseeing slots operations

and

- 1.5 percent would go to a minority business account

All of that totals out to about $1.36 billion

For this, and other handy, if occasionally mundane, information about the slots referendum, check out this document. It’s the fiscal note prepared by legislative analysts, one is completed for almost every piece of legislation submitted in the Maryland General Assembly.

So back to the mild case of policy amnesia.

O’Malley has done a pretty good job of sticking to some of his major talking points on budget issues and has excelled in remembering the policy intricacies of complicated arenas such as energy policies. But at least over the past year he’s had a hard time mastering slots details.

When he announced last summer that he would submit a slots plan, he told reporters it would include about 1,000 slots machines, and aide had to run up afterward and correct that number for reporters.

On the Friday night last fall when he unveiled his legislation he had trouble remembering where the slot parlors would be located and deferred most of the questions to his chief lobbyist.

What do you think? Do these numbers matter? Is the $1.36 billion slots pie sliced right?

Tom LoBianco, Maryland political reporter, The Washington Times