As everybody knows, Governor Larry Hogan has spent more money on K-12 education than any governor in state history. But that hasn’t stopped Democratic leaders from throwing a temper tantrum about it, as Len Lazarick reports:
Before the speech, Democratic state and local elected officials had gathered to criticize the governor.
Asked about evidence of Hogan’s bipartisanship, they laughed.
“We are here to work with Gov. Hogan,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, “but there is a point where your press releases, your press conferences have to match up with your policies. … This is about putting your funding where your mouth is.”
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a potential rival to Hogan in the 2018 election, was particularly scornful of Hogan’s policies, asking “Where’s the beef?”
“The governor has promised to provide record funding for education and yet how much money is in this budget beyond the minimum operating budget that’s required by law? Zero,” said Kamenetz. Money to tear down vacant houses and new money to invest in Baltimore housing? “Zero,” Kamenetz said. A dedicated pot of school construction to pay for air conditioning units? “Zero,” he said.
Now of course the whinging and gnashing of teeth by these particular Democrats is absolutely farcical. Because as it turns out, the Democrats who were whining the loudest about all of this, Rawlings-Blake, Kamenetz, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, are the recipients of the largest shares of direct state funding in K-12 education.
The Governor’s Deputy Communications Director, Doug Mayer, put out a blistering statement after the Governor’s State of the State Address on all of this:
- Baltimore City still receives more direct state aid than any other jurisdiction: nearly $1 billion, and spends more than $5,000 per pupil more than any other jurisdiction
- Prince George’s County, the second biggest benefactor of K-12 state aid, received a 5.5% increase in direct aid as compared to the FY2016 budget that was primarily prepared by outgoing O’Malley Administration staffers;
- Montgomery County is the third highest recipient of state aid and saw a 4.4% growth over FY16
One can barely comprehend the actual nature of these arguments. In Governor Hogan, we have a Governor who is funding K-12 education at record levels, more than any other Governor including Democratic ones. Yet we have Democratic elected officials who want to be big shots in state politics making fools of themselves despite the fact that their jurisdictions receive more aid than any other AND have large increases in funding over the FY2016 budget that, I point out again, was primarily compiled by Democratic functionaries under the supervision of a Democratic Governor, Martin O’Malley.
So for Larry Hogan’s effort in trying to provide more dollars to fix public education for Maryland’s K-12 students, a bunch of whining ingrates decide to attack the Governor using deceitful lies for solely partisan purposes. Any honest broker in state politics should ridicule these elected officials for the mockery that they are making of political discourse in Annapolis and run them out of office on a rail. Particularly galling is the participation of Kevin Kamenetz in this charade, since he seemed to have had no problem with public schools students going to class without air conditioning in rooms akin to saunas, only to have Governor Hogan and the Board of Public Works have to ride to the rescue to protect students and bail him out.
Where were these partisan hacks all of those years were Martin O’Malley was failing to increase school spending? Oh that’s right, they were doing as they were told because they only find their voice to complain about issues like this once the voters get sick of Democratic incompetence and kick them to the curb.
It’s understandable for Democratic union bosses to be upset with the Governor’s budget, since it limits the handouts that they will receive from them. However, it is unconscionable for the leaders of the state’s three largest jurisdictions to whine about state funding at a time in which their jurisdictions are the three largest recipients of K-12 state aid. Their disingenuity speaks volumes about the sorry state of Democratic elected officials in Maryland, and why the Democratic Party in Maryland continues to be in disarray.