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Gov. Larry Hogan won’t veto revisions to Maryland education overhaul law

Gov. Larry Hogan told state legislative leaders Friday he would let revisions to a sweeping education legislation become law without his signature, but expressed reservations about the state legislature’s failure to identify a source of funding.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which took years to pass, will provide $4 billion more in education funding over a decade, and launch programs intended to make Maryland schools some of the best in the nation.

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The law would provide expand pre-kindergarten, improve teacher pay, invest more in career technology for high school students, and provide more support to high poverty schools.

Hogan, a Republican, vetoed the Blueprint passed in the 2020 legislative session, saying it was too expensive. The legislature overrode that veto and it became law. But the legislature also took action this session to revise that law, adding pandemic related help for schools.

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In his letter to Senate President Bill Ferguson and the Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones, both Democrats, Hogan said he agreed with the revisions, including requiring school districts to provide summer school and tutoring to students, as well as funding more broadband and technology, but expressed deep reservations about the lack of funding sources to pay for the original law.

The revisions delay some of the local requirements for education spending for a year and prioritize spending on technology for students now learning virtually.

Saying that the new law would lead to “massive tax increases,” Hogan said the legislature should work on amending the law next year. In the fiscal years between 2027 and 2033, Hogan said, projections show there will not be enough state revenue to cover the cost of the law, which has been referred to as the Kirwan legislation after William “Brit” Kirwan, a former University System of Maryland chancellor who headed up a commission to write the legislation.

Hogan said it would require “crippling taxes” in subsequent years, a claim that has been disputed by supporters of the legislation.

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“While correcting some of the problems of the earlier version I vetoed,” Hogan wrote to legislators, the bill “completely fails to directly address this most important issue.”

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