Kirwan Blueprint Has Passed… Now What?

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Act will become law, now that both chambers of the General Assembly overrode the governor’s veto of the multi-year plan that obliges some $4 billion in annual state and county spending above current education funding formulas and projections by its eventual phase-in in FY 2030.

On the final day allotted for his decision regarding legislation passed by the General Assembly during last year’s abbreviated sessionGovernor Hogan vetoed HB 1300 – Blueprint for Maryland’s Future – Implementation, citing budget weaknesses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The House voted 95-37 for the override, clearing the three-fifths threshold needed to override gubernatorial vetoes. The Senate voted 31-16, also clearing the three-fifths rule.

Here on Conduit Street, we’ve got all the information you need to know about the path forward for the Kirwan Blueprint.

What is the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education?

After more than three years of study and consideration, the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education adopted its final recommendations in late 2019, establishing the base policy and funding formulas that passed the General Assembly in the form of House Bill 1300 in the abbreviated 2020 legislative session.

What’s the Blueprint?

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future contains education policy recommendations in the policy areas of (1) early childhood education; (2) high-quality and diverse teachers and leaders; (3) college and career readiness pathways; (4) resources to ensure all students are successful; and (5) governance and accountability. The legislation also includes numerous provisions relating to education funding and funding formulas.

Now that the veto has been overridden, when does HB 1300 go into effect?

Any bill enacted over the veto of the Governor, or any bill which will become law as the result of the failure of the Governor to act within the time specified, will take effect 30 days after the Governor’s veto is over-ridden, or on the date specified in the Bill, whichever is later – in this case 30 days.

Will the bill’s implementation dates and/or timetables change?

Even though the bill’s enactment was delayed almost a year because of the veto and override process, its many references remain intact. When the bill spells out formula changes for FY 2023, for instance, those remain in effect for FY 2023, they do not “adjust” due to the delay in enactment.

Don’t expect any major delays in the implementation of the bill’s main programs, or funding requirements. Technical changes may be necessary because of the delayed effective date, but the bill should be implemented on schedule. Any changes would require legislation – either a late-introduced bill during this legislative session, or (more likely, at this point) amendments to another like the omnibus Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act.

What’s the price tag?

The multi-year plan obliges some $4 billion in annual state and county spending above current education funding formulas and projections by its eventual phase-in in FY 2030.

How will the State pay for its share?

There is no single answer for this broad question. However, some pieces of the puzzle are in place, also as part of the verto-override cycle from 2020-2021.

The General Assembly also voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of HB 732 – Taxation – Tobacco Tax, Sales and Use Tax, and Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax, a bill to apply the state’s 6% sales tax to digital products.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund — which is dedicated to implementing the recommendations from the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education — has a dedicated funding source from a portion of online sales tax revenue, and is projected to have enough money to fund the Kirwan Blueprint bill through at least 2026, according to analysis from the Department of Legislative Services.

There are not identified funding sources for the remaining costs at the State level, but the funding formula will obligate that level of State commitment to be in each year’s proposed budget. Further, because public education is enshrined in the State constitution, third parties could sue the State to live up to these commitments.

How much will this cost my county?

Page 3 (shown below) of the Updated DLS Fiscal Charts with Senate Amendments shows the state’s latest forecast of additional county funding required under the bill. In a break from the conventional presentation, this has been calculated relative to a “trend line” of anticipated local funding, based on recent years’ spending patterns. A comparable analysis compared to local funding required under current law (the basis for virtually every fiscal note prepared) would likely show a figure hundreds of millions higher.

Did the General Assembly also override the veto of bills designed to act as funding sources for the Blueprint?

Yes, the General Assembly also voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of HB 732 – Taxation – Tobacco Tax, Sales and Use Tax, and Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax, a bill to apply the state’s 6% sales tax to digital products.

Does this affect the Built to Learn Act?

Yes, HB 1 – Built to Learn Act of 2020 was contingent on the passage of Kirwan and therefore will become law.

Has Governor Hogan weighed in?

See video below, published on February 12.

Useful Links:

Previous Conduit Street coverage: Top Issues of 2021 Session: Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

Previous Conduit Street coverage: Governor Vetoes Kirwan, Tax, Fiscal Bills in Silent Session Cap-off

Previous Conduit Street coverage: Kirwan Blueprint Bill Heads to Governor, With a “Trigger” Provision

MACo on Kirwan Blueprint: Rely on State Funding

Senate’s Kirwan Blueprint Bill: What’s In It For Counties?

Breaking Down The Kirwan Blueprint Bill

DLS Issue Papers: Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

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