March 16, 2020
Dear Our Marylander,
You may have heard that the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) is cutting short its 90-day session because of concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus. Apparently, this is the first time since the Civil War that the MGA has had to adjourn early. The MGA will adjourn, Sine Die (Latin for ”without day” meaning they will not meet for an extended period of time), on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 instead of April 6, 2020. The Senate President expressed his hope that they will reconvene at the end of May, but we shall see…
Over the course of the next few days, we hope to see passage of a critical education package and funding of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, including:
- Closing corporate tax loopholes, restructuring tax systems, ending ineffective tax breaks that do not benefit the Maryland economy and making sure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes.
- A bi-partisan proposal to start taxing digital books and music just as books and music are taxed if purchased in a brick and mortar store. In addition there is a proposal to increase the tobacco tax.
- Passing the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future to strengthen our public education system in Maryland and ensure the equitable distribution of resources.
The work of the Kirwan Commission has provided a great opportunity to improve Maryland’s public schools by increasing teacher salaries, ensuring equitable distribution of resources to schools around the state, and increasing vocational and technical education, just to name a few.
You may recall that Maryland once had the #1 school system in the nation. Unfortunately, we have dropped to #4. That number doesn’t reflect many of the indicators that are a cause of concern. For example, in 8th grade math, Maryland students are below the national average. The numbers don’t lie, so the legislature is stepping up to act.
Stay tuned as the initiatives we mention above, if passed, have a very real possibility of being vetoed by the Governor. If so, the legislature may vote to override the vetoes (when that will happen is an open question). We are living in unprecedented time, Our Marylanders!
Please stay safe.
Wendy Royalty, M.S.W
Our Maryland, Inc.