Teacher’s Union Not Opposed to Pimlico Education Trust Fund Raid
We’ve already discussed here at Red Maryland why the Pimlico deal agreed upon by Baltimore City and the Stronach Group, owners of Pimlico, is bad for Maryland. And Mark Uncapher wrote about how the deal proposes a raid on the Casino Lockbox and the Education Trust Fund.
It may surprise you to know that the Maryland State Education Association isn’t opposed to this raid on the Education Trust Fund.
In comments made to the Baltimore Sun, high-paid MSEA lobbyist Sean Johnson said this:
Sean Johnson, lobbyist for the Maryland State Education Association, said his members work hard to protect funding for public schools. But he noted that projections for education spending currently go through 2025, before any additional casino money would come to the Education Trust Fund.
“I’m confident there’s enough space to accomplish both our goals on fully funding our schools and the General Assembly’s goals on any number of things,” Johnson said
Johnson’s remarks are telling for a few reasons.
First and foremost, this shows that the MSEA isn’t going to rock the applecart too much when it comes to non-education related items. Though the Pimlico plan directly raids the Education Trust Fund, it’s really no skin off of the union’s back for this deal to pass. Some of the MSEA’s favorite politicians have signed off on this deal already, so while the MSEA basically runs the Maryland Democratic Party, they are not going to stand in the way of what they would perceive to be a huge win for their allies.
But the second reason this is important is just as important. Johnson’s comments clearly show the MSEA isn’t interested in protecting the Education Trust Fund because he and the MSEA are “confident there’s enough space to accomplish both our goals on fully funding our schools and the General Assembly’s goals on any number of things.” Why is that? Because the MSEA is counting on the General Assembly to approve funding not just for Pimlico, but also to approve the tax hikes that will be tied into the Kirwan Commission recommendations. You know, the tax hikes that the Kirwan Commission sandbagged the public on, hoping nobody noticed they were being shut out of the process.
It’s interesting that, after years of Democratic and “education advocate” hand-wringing regarding the Education Trust Fund and Governor Larry Hogan’s to get the casino lockbox constitutional amendment passed ensuring that revenues go solely to education, that the tune has changed. It’s not even a year after the people of Maryland voted for this constitutional amendment that the Democrats first proposed raiding the education lockbox to fund some other project. It is quite the breach of trust between Democrats and the voters to even broach this as a solution to anything, much less the solution to building a new horse racing track that will be used basically one week a year.
As we get closer to the General Assembly session, keep an eye on Democratic reaction to this Pimlico Plan. It will be very telling as to how unified Democrats are, and what other statements Democrats stakeholder groups similar to the MSEA make in the coming weeks.