General Assembly Leaders Urge Governor to Release Education Funds

Democratic leaders in the General Assembly held a press conference yesterday to urge Governor Hogan to release $68 million in additional education funding set aside in the fiscal 2016 budget now that the budget surplus is greater than expected.

As reported by the Washington Post,

Hogan in May withheld half of the $136 million that lawmakers had allocated to the state’s 16 most costly school systems under a formula known as the Geographic Cost of Education Index.

The governor said the money — much of which would have gone to public schools in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties and Baltimore City — should instead be used to bolster the state’s underfunded pension system.

State Democratic leaders argued Monday that the legislature had — at Hogan’s urging — taken steps to put the state on stronger financial footing, paying an additional $50 million into the pension system and launching a two-year plan to close the state’s structural budget deficit. They released estimates showing surpluses of $520 million for fiscal 2016 and $215 million for 2017.

Given the current surplus, they said, Hogan should release the money that the legislature earmarked for schools in parts of the state where education is more expensive.

This budget issue and others will likely be front and center during the upcoming General Assembly Session. To learn more about issues confronting the Administration and the General Assembly, attend the “2016 General  Assembly Session Forecast” session to be held during the MACo Winter Conference.

Description: The upcoming session appears to be a challenging one for officials in Annapolis. Revenues are up for the coming fiscal year, but competing ideas on how the funds should be used may trigger disagreements. At the same time, the increasing cost of school construction, the growing concern over public safety issues and improving the state’s business climate warrants public and political attention. The General Assembly’s two presiding officers, the House and Senate minority leaders, and a policy advocate from the Administration will share their views on the issues confronting Annapolis for 2016 and beyond.

Speakers:

  • The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller President, Maryland Senate
  • The Honorable Michael E. Busch Speaker, Maryland House of Delegates
  • The Honorable J.B. Jennings, Minority Leader, Maryland Senate
  • Joseph M. Getty, Chief Legislative Officer, Governor Hogan’s Administration

Moderator: The Honorable John F. Barr, Incoming MACo President, Washington County Commissioner

Date/Time: Friday, December 11, 2015; 9:30 am – 10:45 am

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 9-11, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge. This year’s conference theme is “Mission: Public Safety.”

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

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