Gov. Larry Hogan said Saturday that he won’t support big tax increases to pay for a major education funding plan.
Hogan, speaking at a conference of county officials, noted the concern local officials have expressed about the costs associated with proposals under consideration by a state commission on education. Hogan said the proposals would require “billions and billions more in mandated spending increases.”
“They took this action without any regard to funding formulas and with absolutely no plan whatsoever for how any of your counties or the state taxpayers could possibly pay for any of it,” Hogan said in the closing speech of the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference.
Fully implementing the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations would cost an estimated $3.8 billion a year in a decade for K-12 education. The Maryland Department of Budget and Management estimates that paying for the proposals would require a 39% increase in the personal income tax, an 89% increase in the sales tax, or a 535% increase in the property tax, Hogan said.
“Now, I know that county leaders are just as concerned as I am and as the taxpayers are,” Hogan said.
“So, let me just be crystal clear: not a single one of those things is ever going to happen as long as I’m governor of the state of Maryland,” Hogan, a Republican, said.
However, Hogan said, he plans to propose $2 billion in new spending in the next legislative session in January to help counties with school construction. He said that would fulfill nearly every local construction request for the entire state.
The governor also spoke about efforts to expand broadband in rural counties. He said grants were recently awarded for 11 rural broadband projects for five counties across the state and additional grants to six more counties to begin broadband feasibility studies.
Hogan announced that the state will provide an additional $10 million this year as the first installment of a five-year, $100 million initiative to provide another 225,000 Maryland residents in rural areas with access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet services.
The governor also called for stronger penalties for people who commit violent crimes. He said that 60 percent of those who are convicted of committing a violent crime with a gun in Baltimore do not serve any serious jail time.
“I am calling on leaders at every level of government to join our efforts to impose tougher sentences for those who repeatedly commit these violent crimes,” Hogan said. “Enough is enough. Let’s come together and do what it takes to get these violent shooters off our streets once and for all.”