The Howard County Republican Party

One BILLION Dollars for Education?

Maryland Democrats in the General Assembly have rushed through a pair of bills which they say will “transform Maryland’s… education system to the levels of the highest-performing systems…” The price tag? $1,000,000,000 taxpayer dollars.

The bills, (SB 1030 / HB 1413) known as the “Kirwan Blueprint Bill,” or “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” implements recommendations of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, providing grants to students living in areas with a “concentration of poverty,” providing grants for teachers, and establishing an office of State Inspector General for Education. In addition, the House and Senate Bills provide state assistance to counties who commit to fund teacher salaries at an amount higher than that stipulated in their contracts.

So what is the Kirwan Commission? It’s a 26-member panel, created in 2016 by the legislature, led by and named for William Kirwan, former Chancellor of the University of Maryland. It’s job is to ensure that schools are funded in a way that guarantees a quality education regardless of the economic health of the district in which the school operates.  

Where is the money coming from? $225 million of it comes from funds earmarked for other projects in fiscal 2020, meaning that non-education agencies have seen their operating budgets reduced in order to fund an arm of government that already consumes more than 60% of every tax dollar. Other funding is expected to be pulled from casino revenue, and from a proposed new online sales tax.

The bills have become law without Governor Larry Hogan’s signature. Hogan, while supporting excellence in education, has expressed concern: “I have significant reservations about your shortsighted methods for implementing the Kirwan Commission’s final recommendations — namely that they will lead to massive increases in expenditures without providing the fiscal safeguards and much-needed accountability our students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers deserve.”

Indeed, the Department of Management and Budget estimates an increased tax burden of $6,200 per Maryland Household as the plan, which ultimately provides an additional $3.8 Billion in annual funding, is phased in over the next ten years.

Maryland’s 7th District – What’s Next?

Following the untimely death of Representative Elijah Cummings, federal law specifies that Governor Larry Hogan must announce, within ten days, both a special primary and a special general election for the vacant seat in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. The primary will follow at least 65 days after the issuance of Governor Hogan’s proclamation. The general election will follow at least 65 days after the primary.

Two Maryland Republicans had already declared their candidacy for the seat: William T. Newton and Reba Hawkins. Additional candidates may still file. The Republican Central Committee will post updates and deadlines after Governor Hogan’s statement is issued.

Upcoming Public Hearing – Howard County Charter Review Commission

On October 24th at the Gary Arthur Community Center in Glenwood, the Charter Review Commission will hold its third and final public hearing on the charter review process at 7:00 PM. The Howard County Republican Party encourages all County residents to attend and participate.

From the Howard County Website: Under the County Charter, the Council is required to establish a Charter Review Commission every eight years. The Commission consists of 15 residents of Howard County. Five of the members must be selected from a list ten names submitted by the County Executive. No more than ten of the members of the Commission may be of the same political party. The Chair of the Commission is appointed in the resolution designating the members of the Commission. On March 4, 2019, the County Council approved Resolution No. 18-2019 appointing the 2019 Charter Review Commission.

The Charter is our County’s constitution, and the review process is your chance to participate in making changes to it. The Central Committee has asked the Commission if it is still possible to introduce new change proposals at the final public meeting. It is. It is also possible to submit testimony on change proposals in writing–the sooner the better, but testimony may be submitted after October 24th. The Commission may be contacted via email at charterreviewcommission@howardcountymd.gov. Questions may be directed to the County Council offices at 410-313-2001.

The American Dream is alive in Howard County.