Board of Public Works Approves First Round of School Projects using New Alcohol Tax Revenues

Three counties were granted approvals for school construction projects yesterday during the Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis.  The projects will be funded from  alcohol tax increase revenues.  The General Assembly approved an increase in the alcohol tax during the 2011 session and directed a portion of the revenues towards school construction projects.  This is a one year only deal.  All revenues will go into the state’s general fund in subsequent years.

Approximately $47.5 million is dedicated to school construction projects from revenues to be raised through an increase in the alcohol sales tax, as specified in House Bill 1213 (passed). These projects may or may not be eligible for funding from the Public School Construction Program, and must be approved by the Board of Public Works (BPW). BPW must consider requests from local jurisdictions and projects that benefit older school buildings, benefit schools with high proportions of low-income students, can be completed in one year, eliminate or reduce the use of relocatable classrooms, are eligible for State funding but are not fully funded in fiscal 2012, and reduce energy consumption or incorporate high-performance “green” building principles.

As reported by the Sun, the increase in the alcohol tax is expected to generate $85 million per year.

The state Board of Public Works, made up of the governor, the comptroller and the state treasurer, approved $4 million in spending projects in Howard County, in part to replace grass football fields with artificial turf at Atholton and Hammond high schools.

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