Gov. Hogan vetoes legislation mandating increased spending, taxes

Posted at 3:32 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 06:59:31-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan announced actions on legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2020 legislative session.

Hogan vetoed a number of bills on Thursday, including Kirwan and historically black colleges/university funding.

“The General Assembly passed a number of bills worthy of consideration, but COVID-19 has caused sudden and unprecedented economic turmoil. The impact from COVID-19 on state and local budgets, on small businesses, and on struggling Marylanders is devastating and is potentially worse than anything since the Great Depression.

“As I made clear last month, given these challenges, it would be irresponsible to allow legislation that requires increasing spending to become law. I am committed to working with legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle as we confront these difficult budget choices on the road to economic recovery.”

Increased Spending

  • “The economic fallout from this pandemic simply makes it impossible to fund any new programs, impose any new tax hikes, nor adopt any legislation having any significant fiscal impact, regardless of the merits of the legislation.” Read the governor’s veto letter here.

Higher Taxes and Fees

  • “With our state in the midst of a global pandemic and economic crash, and just beginning on our road to recovery, it would be unconscionable to raise taxes and fees now.” Read the governor’s veto letter here.

Failure to Address Violent Crime

  • “Since before the start of the legislative session, I made it very clear that my highest priority was to hold violent criminals accountable and stop the shootings and the murders in Baltimore City...While the Senate approved the package by a wide margin, the House failed to act upon it, and thus failed to meaningfully address violent crime.” Read the governor’s veto letter here.

In statement, Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones said:

"I am extremely disappointed with the Governor’s actions today. While we are in the midst of a public health and economic crisis of an extraordinary magnitude, stopping progress on education and school construction puts us even further behind. We know that there are students across this State that are losing millions of hours of learning. The result of this short-sighted action is Maryland will continue to graduate students that are not ready for the real world.

I will be talking to House leadership and President Ferguson in the coming weeks about next steps."

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed also released a statement, saying:

"Governor Hogan's veto of the Kirwan Commission is a negligent decision. The distance learning mandate, in response to the pandemic, has emphasized the resource disparities within our education system. This is precisely why we need to ensure equitable funding of our schools. As a graduate of two Maryland HBCUs, I know how essential HBCU institutions are to an equitable society. Unfortunately, I also know a grave injustice has been perpetuated on all HBCUs by successive governors. We have to end the imbalance of funding and stop reinforcing inequality in our schools.”

Bills that will become law without the governor’s signature, include the Pimlico bill that was up this session.

The American Advertising Federation released a statement in support of the decision, stating in part that the "legislation would have hobbled businesses who are already on the ropes due to the COVID-19 outbreak and would have ultimately meant higher retail prices for consumers in Maryland."

They also stated that a "sales tax on advertising would have slowed economic growth."

Members of the Maryland Tobacco Free Coalition including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and MD PIRG make the following statement:

“We are very disappointed in Governor Hogan’s action today. House Bill 732 would have implemented evidence-based policy, made a great investment in tobacco control and raised the tax on tobacco to combat the epidemic of tobacco use – all while addressing the current pandemic of COVID-19 with much needed funding. By vetoing this bill the Governor is putting tobacco interests above public health and endangering the lives of Marylanders. Additionally, he is turning down critical new revenue to combat the current pandemic.

We thank our bill sponsors Del. Eric Luedtke and Sen. Cory McCray for their leadership and vision to create a healthier Maryland and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the General Assembly to override this veto to protect public health and make the needed investments in emergency COVID-19 response.”

For a full list of the bills passed, click here.