The organization says it will work legislators to override it.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Disappointed is the reaction from the Maryland State Education Association to Governor Larry Hogan’s veto Thursday of the Blueprint For Maryland’s Future “Our schools are underfunded. They’ve been underfunded by $3-billion to $4-billion a year. We spent three years working on not only on a funding formula, but what improved schools look as we compete globally,” says Cheryl Bost, President of the MSEA.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future would have spent $4-billion annually to make improvements to Maryland’s public school, such as expanded pre-k and career and technical education, increased teacher pay, and addressing inequities in schools in areas of concentrated poverty.
In his veto message, Governor Hogan said the state is facing “fiscal and economic challenges” because fo the COVID-19 pandemic. “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,” the Governor said in a letter to House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson.
As part of passing this plan, the Maryland General Assembly enacted several new taxes to pay for it, including levies on digital downloads, such as Netflex and video games, a corporate tax change intended to bring in millions of dollars per year, a new tax on vaping products and doubled tax on cigarettes.
Even with the bad economy, Bost says Blueprint did take economic slowdowns into account. “There was already a provision placed into the Blueprint late in the session, prior to its approval by a bipartisan group of legislators that would put a pause on the additional funding if we did head into bad economic times,” she said.
“The first three years of the Blueprint was funded in the 2019 Legislative Session,”: she notes. “So this was moving forward beyond the first couple years.”
Despite this loss, Bost says the next step is to work on an override. “MSEA will continue to work with its coalition partners that represent business owners, parents, everybody. to contact our legislators throughout the state,” she says. “It did pass with a veto-proof majority. So there are votes there to override the veto.”
By Kevin McManus