Governor Larry Hogan announced legislation to create a “lockbox” for education funding to ensure that all revenues from Maryland casinos go directly to funding K-12 education and improvements to the state’s public school facilities.
The governor was joined by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a longtime advocate for reforming the funding system set up by flawed legislation passed in 2007.
“Ensuring that this money is required to be used the way voters were promised it would be is long overdue; this is a bipartisan issue that a majority of Marylanders agree with,” said Governor Hogan.
“The additional revenue that was promised for the classrooms should be required to go into the classrooms, and the people of Maryland and our children should not have to wait for another election in order to fix this important issue.”
Maryland voters approved slot machine gambling in 2008 based on a pledge from the legislature and previous administration that the new revenues generated would supplement existing funding. However, the legislation that was enacted allowed for the new revenues to simply supplant existing funding.
The governor says his Commitment to Education Act of 2018 will increase education spending by more than $4.4 billion over the next decade by phasing in casino revenues from the Education Trust Fund over the next four years.
The legislation also dedicates the first 20 percent of these revenues to school construction starting immediately, which will add an additional $1 billion over the decade.
Comptroller Franchot, who has been warning Marylanders of the problems with the existing legislation for over a decade, affirmed his support for the governor’s bill.
“Students, teachers and families have waited long enough for state government to finally deliver on its promise. This session, I hope that both sides of the aisle can set partisanship aside, and come together to do the right thing, by passing this bill and sending it to the governor’s desk,” said the comptroller.