Red Maryland is FOR Question 1
The Maryland General Assembly adopted a constitutional amendment this year that creates a lockbox for casino revenues to be diverted to education.
The description of the amendment reads:
The amendment requires the Governor to include in the annual State Budget, as supplemental funding for prekindergarten through grade 12 in public schools, the revenues from video lottery operation licenses and any other commercial gaming dedicated to public education in an amount above the level of State funding for education in public schools provided by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002 (otherwise known as the Thornton legislation) in not less than the following amounts: $125 million in fiscal year 2020; $250 million in fiscal year 2021; $375 million in fiscal year 2022; and 100% of commercial gaming revenues dedicated to public education in fiscal year 2023 and each fiscal year thereafter. The amendment also requires the Governor to show in the annual budget how the revenues from video lottery operation licenses and other commercial gaming are being used in a manner that is in addition to the level of State funding for public education provided by the funding formulas established by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act. The State Constitution currently authorizes video lottery operation licenses for the primary purpose of raising money for public education.
(Amending Article XIX, Section 1(c)(1) and (g), and adding Section 1(f) to the Maryland Constitution)
The idea of a lockbox for casino revenues has been around since the beginning. Back when slots were first reintroduced to Maryland by Governor Martin O’Malley, gambling was sold as something that would directly benefit education by making more money available for public schools. Casino revenue was placed in the Education Trust Fund,
Of course, it never was that way because Martin O’Malley and legislative Democrats constantly raided the Education Trust Fund to cover general fund deficits and for spending on other programs.
This year, Governor Larry Hogan proposed a lockbox for casino revenues to be (finally) earmarked for education. Legislative Democrats, trying to deny Governor Hogan any victors, co-opted the idea to make it their own and pass the amendment. Governor Hogan embraced the amendment and is currently urging its passage.
What Democrats hope you forget is the fact that legislative conservatives have been pushing for this kind of amendment since the special session in 2007 when Democrats railroaded slots through the General Assembly in the middle of the night.
The General Assembly made a promise to voters in 2007 that casino revenues would be earmarked for education. It took eleven years for the Democrats to finally live up to that promise. But the amendment is a sound idea and one that should be supported by all voters of all ideological stripes.
The Editors of Red Maryland encourage you to vote for Question 1.