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Sun Editorial Board Still Producing Nonsense

It’s amusing that the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board wrote an op-ed about the Kirwan Commission that they identified as “Alternate Fact of the Week.” Because this op-ed contained several whoppers the Sun Editorial Board tried to pass off as facts.

The premise of the piece is that the Kirwan Commission is being attacked for something they were never asked to do. Their argument is predicated on the idea that it is responsible leadership for the Commission to propose a 10% yearly increase in the state budget and just make it somebody else’s problems to figure out how to pay for it.

Of course given their lack of intellectual diversity and their steadfast refusal to engage in good faith, the Sun Editorial Board completely misconstrues the arguments made against the Kirwan recommendations and turns them into something else.

For example:

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Rather than focus on individual recommendations of the commission or the overall problem of stagnant school performance in Maryland, the naysayers would like to condemn the entire report for not doing a job that they were not assigned — a task that, in reality, belongs to the governor and to legislators. Instead, they’ve described the Kirwan recommendations in the worst possible and misleading terms involving the most hated taxes being raised the maximum amount.

This of course is a nonsense response. Criticisms of the Kirwan Commission have focused on two facts simultaneously. Yes, one focuses on the high costs of the Kirwan Commission recommendations, but also as we have done here there is a great deal of criticism about the effectiveness of the recommendations due to the lack of accountability measures included in the report.

Additionally, the Sun’s wringing of hands about “misleading terms involving the most hated taxes being raised the maximum amount” is a red herring considering that in order to pay for these recommendations taxes will in fact need to be raised and will be done in a way so that working and middle-class Marylanders will be the ones who have to foot the bill for this. It’s unsurprising that the rich white folks in the Baltimore Sun’s ivory tower would not be sympathetic or even aware of these basic facts.

The whoppers keep coming after this:

First there’s his scorched earth take on Kirwan as the demonized “Kirwan Tax Hike Commission” and a union power play.

While the Kirwan Commission was not legislatively designed to be a tax hike commission and it may not have been designed as a payoff to the Maryland State Education Association, you and I and everybody else knows that it was. That’s why Democrats rigged the commission the way they did, loaded with Democrats who will do the union’s bidding and have no problem with raising taxes on working people. And it’s why the Commission went out of its way to standbag the public from learning about funding formulas and how much this was actually going to cost. The Sun may not like how Governor Larry Hogan portrays the Commission, yet the Sun Editorial Board is completely incapable of proving him wrong based on a simple exploration of the facts.

And second, after proponents point out that Maryland residents actually want better schools and are willing to pay more for them, is his claim that no governor has spent more money on K-12 in this state than he.

Once again, the Sun Editorial Board either ignores facts or misconstrues them based on the needs of their argument. It’s not a “claim” that no governor has spent more money on K-12 education that Larry Hogan. It’s a bonafide fact, no matter how often the Sun does the work of Democrats and the MSEA in trying to spin that fact otherwise. But while this Editorial Board ignores facts when it comes to K-12 spending, they merely side step facts when it comes to their first claim here, about voters wanting better schools and being ready to pay for it. Here are some of the facts that we laid out here at Red Maryland as it relates to public support of these claims from the Goucher Poll;

While, according to this poll, 70% of the public thinks we spend too little on education and 74% say they are willing to pay more in taxes to support education, only about 14% of the public knows what the Kirwan Commission is and what it does. That means at most only 14% of Maryland residents know the Kirwan Commission exists and know exactly what these proposed tax increases could mean to Maryland families.

Other polling from the Washington Post has shown that Marylanders are willing to pay up to $400 a year in new taxes. That’s it. $400 a year. County level taxes in several counties are going to have to be raised more than $400 a year to pay for the county funding recommendations contained in Kirwan, and that’s before we ever get to the $4 billion a year the state would need to find in order to fund this document. If you can’t get a majority of Marylanders to support more than $400 a year in new taxes to pay for Kirwan, how does the Sun Editorial Board plan to bring along Marylanders to agree to the $6,000 a year in new taxes to pay for everything?

And one thing the Sun never gets around to talking about? How reckless it is for the Kirwan Commission to propose tens of billions of dollars in new funding without ever taking about if or how the state can afford this. It is thoroughly reckless and irresponsible for this Commission to release these recommendations and spending formulas with so much pomp and circumstance without somebody in the room (other than the Republicans, of course) asking “how do we pay for this?”

Look, if the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board wants to support the Kirwan Commission recommendations, that’s their business. But they should at least pretend to engage in facts. This is another instance of the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board being a factory of nonsense instead of a relevant, thoughtful source of opinion



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