￼Maryland Governor Supports Education ‘Lockbox’
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan responded to plans in the state General Assembly to pass a bill requiring that all casino taxes be placed in a “lockbox” for education, announcing plans to increase state spending on public education by $4.4 billion over the next decade from dedicated casino revenue.
The so-called “lock” was proposed earlier this year by Democratic lawmakers, who complained that revenue from a casino industry legalized for the purpose of supporting education was routinely siphoned off for other state programs, or for the general fund.
Hogan said his proposal would use roughly $450 million a year in casino revenue that does not currently go to the K-12 education funding formula, funneling some $100 million a year to school construction. “I believe every child in Maryland deserves access to a world-class education, no matter which neighborhood they grow up in,” he told the Sun.
Education advocates expressed skepticism last week in interviews with the Baltimore Sun. “It means that somebody’s going to have to find some more revenue or cut the budget a whole lot,” said Warren Deschenaux, the assembly’s recently retired head of legislative services.
Hogan said the current legislation will fix a flaw in the original gaming bill enacted in 2007, which created an Education Trust Fund but did not forbid the casino money from being used for other purposes.
“The people of Maryland and our children should not have to wait for another election or another referendum in order to fix this important issue,” he said.