Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a plan to amend the state constitution to ensure that taxes on casino revenues set aside for education are used to supplement, not supplant state funding for public schools.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch spoke in support of legislation to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. The ballot question would ask voters to approve of putting a “lockbox” on casino money (around $500M per year), requiring it to be used for education above the amount set by state formulas.
According to Maryland Matters,
Miller said the lockbox legislation will be modeled after the 2013 increase in the gas tax, which required that increased revenue flow into the state’s transportation trust fund. The bill will include a “escape hatch” that allows the Assembly to divert casino revenues into the general fund if a fiscal emergency occurs, aides said.
The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, commonly known as the Kirwan Commission, is expected to issue make a series of education funding and policy recommendations after the 2018 session. Backers of the proposed constitutional amendment on gaming funds said the increased revenue would at least partially fund the panel’s proposals.
Advocates of the legislation created a #FixtheFund hashtag to draw attention to the issue.
Read the full article from Maryland Matters for more information and stay tuned to Conduit Street for updates on #FixtheFund.