FLOOR RECAPCONTACT: Megan Miller, Communications Director
Maryland Senate Republican Caucus
757-871-0763 | email@example.com
Annapolis, Md. – Today, the Senate will conclude debate on Governor Larry Hogan’s vetoes of 2020 Session Legislation. The vetoes were taken up in two floor sessions today. Below is the recap of debate during the 12:00pm floor session on HB1300 “The Blueprint for Marylander’s Future – Implementation” and HB 732 “Taxation – Tobacco Tax, Sales & Use Tax, and Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax.”
Our members voted to sustain Governor Hogan’s vetoes on both bills.
“In addition to the massive and unsustainable cost of up to $40 billion in spending over the next decade, Kirwan is an outdated blueprint created by the education intelligentsia in a pre-COVID world. There is nothing in these 235 pages that address the issues that virtual learning has created, broadband connectivity, tutoring to catch-up as well as increased involvement of parents and caregivers in our children’s education.
We all agree that we want to improve education and support targeted investments that will yield real, tangible results. Let’s use this veto as an opportunity to pause and recalibrate and work together to pass meaningful, results-driven education reform.”
“We have a blueprint costing $32 billion over 10 years. It is a plan that we simply cannot afford, especially in the midst of an international health pandemic when the plan does not provide much-needed local flexibility and control.
Why would we pass a $6,200 annual tax hike per family at a time when so many are struggling for their very survival? It is unthinkable and outrageous.”
“Since the time we passed this bill, education has changed. We are going on ten months without kids in the classroom. Now we are working through virtual learning, broadband issues and more. This is a blueprint, and when you build something from a blueprint you can make changes along the way, but when you issue too many change orders, you have to take the blueprint back and fix it. There’s enough change here that we need to go back and address how our world and education have changed.”
“Kirwan establishes a new Accountability & Implementation Board (AIB) that circumvents the State Superintendent and Local School Boards and is selected from a list provided by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate. The General Assembly is not supposed to be a State or County Board of Education. If those State & County Boards responsible for education policy are not doing a good job, change the manner in which those policy makers are chosen. Don’t go around them and write the education policies. Don’t go around them and create a new level of bureaucracy that assumes their powers and can cut their funding on a whim.”
“Kirwan has an accountability problem. It measures inputs and not outputs. It focuses on inputs which is making sure the money is spent on the right programs, but this bill does not focus on outputs which is if a student’s performance is improving. We can’t know if Kirwan is successful if we do not know the metrics of how it is improving a student’s performance.
The taxpayers are being asked to make a six billion dollar a year investment. With an investment that big, the taxpayers have a right to know if their investment is working and if our students’ performance is improving. That is not happening with this bill.”
“If you successfully implement a bad plan, it’s still a bad plan. Kirwan misses some of the most meaningful and life impacting solutions offered by Republicans and the commission itself, namely: not providing an environment for teachers to maintain order in the classroom, not providing smaller classrooms, not giving students educational choice in failing school systems, not requiring teacher certifications, and not incorporating accountability and metrics to ensure student improvement.”
HB 732 increases the State’s tobacco tax and create a first-of-its-kind tax on digital advertising.
“Since when did Maryland’s small businesses become the enemy of the General Assembly? Since when did the job creators, the people that have risked their savings, that have made every effort to keep their workers employed though this pandemic so they can continue to feed and care for their families become our enemy?
Let’s just for once, just one time be kind to Maryland businesses. Let’s tell our job creators, the ones who employ our neighbors, that sponsor our little league teams and support our volunteer fire companies and give to our community organizations, that they matter.
Let’s tell them we appreciate them, that we respect them, and that they mean more to us than just being sources of revenue for our uncontrolled spending habits.
“These increased tobacco taxes will have a significant detrimental effect on our small businesses during this time of economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic. At the same time, we are opening the door to raising a regressive tax which would hurt those who are experiencing financial hardships the worst, discriminating against those who we are trying to help survive.”
HB932 places a new tax on digital content such as e-books, music and software downloads and streaming service subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu and Disney +.
“The State has sufficient money in the Blueprint Fund for several years, so there is absolutely no necessity for this tax this year. What is the burning need to tax more Marylanders when they have just received a COVID sucker punch to the gut? At the very least, this tax could wait a year when hopefully we are out of the pandemic and people are starting to pull themselves up from their financial nightmare.”
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