In today’s editorial item on the maintenance of effort legislation being hotly debated in Annapolis, the paper derides the irresponsible and “perverse” system that bill would create.
The legislation would empower the state to claim local income-tax revenues and redirect them to schools if counties were deemed to have fallen behind on the education funding requirements. It allows for no flexibility — even during recessions, when every other agency of local government is slashed.
Since 90 percent of local education spending goes to personnel, it all but ensures that salaries and benefits for teachers, janitors and other school employees would hold steady or grow, even if thousands of other public employees made deeper sacrifices, as many have in recent years.
Taken together, the legislation would strip elected county officials of any real say over the half of their budgets devoted to education, and shift real authority to set pay, pensions and benefits to teachers unions, who already enjoy virtually unchecked power in Maryland government. The losers would be voters and taxpayers, who would be stripped of influence and a voice in determining how their money is spent.