In the wake of recently-introduced legislation to strengthen the state’s Maintenance of Effort law, the Washington Post has written its own critique of the legislation, concluding it to be “a fix that would make things profoundly worse.”
From the editorial:
In practice, many local governments funneled more to schools than the state required; in the past decade, Montgomery spent some $576 million over and above the state’s “maintenance of effort” formula. Some 90 percent of the county’s school spending went to personnel, mainly teacher salaries, pensions and benefits.
Then the recession hit. Localities in Maryland, as elsewhere, slashed spending — though less for schools than almost every other area. A handful of jurisdictions were subject to penalties for failing to meet “maintenance of effort” formulas, even if, like Montgomery, they had far exceeded those mandates in past years.
Now lawmakers are fashioning a fix that would make things profoundly worse. It takes no account of localities that have exceeded state mandates in the past and gives no credence to local discretion. It would arrogantly ignore tax caps that voters have adopted, all for the purpose of creating what the Maryland Association of Counties, which opposes the legislation, calls “an infinite loop of unsustainable spending.”