Hogan, Hard at Work Doing Nothing for Maryland
For Immediate Release 8/26/2019
Annapolis, MD-- The past 26 days of Maryland political news has been littered with examples of Governor Hogan’s penchant for saying a lot, while accomplishing very little. Here’s a quick refresher for those that haven’t been keeping up:
Hogan Backs Trump
The month of August kicked off with Trump attacking Baltimore and House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings. Hogan told the Baltimore Sun that Rep. Cummings could “do more to help” Baltimore.
When the Baltimore Sun’s Editorial Board, reached out to find out what more he expected of Rep. Cummings, Hogan had little to offer in response.
State Prosecutors are Investigating Hogan’s Campaign
On August 16th, Ovetta Wiggins of the Washington Post reported that the State Board of Elections referred to State Prosecutors the Maryland Democratic Party’s complaint regarding the fundraising efforts of “suspicious LLCs” on behalf of Hogan’s 2018 re-election bid.
Hogan’s campaign attorney, who called the complaint a “media stunt”, did not respond to requests for comment on the State Prosecutor’s Office opening up an investigation. This is one of the few issues on which Hogan has remained silent.
Hogan Trashes Maryland Education
At a conference on August 17th, attended by local lawmakers and public policy experts from across the state, Hogan called the Kirwan Commission’s efforts to transform Maryland’s education system “half-baked”-- to the dismay of countless teachers, parents, legislators, and policy efforts who have been working in good faith for years to conceive and implement the Commission’s recommendations.
He went on to say that improvements in teacher’s pay, pre-k funding for low income families, and an increase in per-pupil funding would require a 39% income tax; an 89% sales tax; or a 535% property tax to implement the Commission’s proposals. These numbers are disingenuous, as no serious legislative body would ever implement a standalone tax increase of that magnitude to pay for one package of legislative proposals.
“I respectfully urge the governor to work with us to achieve the best possible outcome for our children, instead of against them and our state’s future.” William E. “Brit” Kirwan, Chairman of the Kirwan Commission, said to the Sun’s Pamela Wood.
Lower Prescription Drug Prices Delayed by Hogan
America’s first ever Drug Affordability Board cannot get to work because Hogan inexplicably refuses to release the $750,000 in operating funds provided by Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers. The Board is tasked with-- according to last Thursday’s Washington Post article-- capping “the costs of certain prescription drugs when purchased by state and local government employers. If successful, it could be expanded to other employers.”
This groundbreaking piece of legislation automatically became law when Hogan missed the deadline to veto it in May 2019. But Marylanders will have to wait on the governor to release the funds set aside by Democrats for the Board before they can expect any relief from the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs.
Baltimore Crime Fighters Ask for $7 Million in Funds Already Promised
On Friday, Hogan met with Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and Baltimore Police Commissioner William Harrison to discuss crime in the City. According to WBAL, Young and Harrison sought release of $7M in crime fighting funding already allocated by Democratic lawmakers in the 2019 session.
Hogan, in turn, requested support for an ineffective crime bill that his office says would target violent gun offenders.
The Sun’s Luke Broadwater reported that, “Democrats have argued that Hogan is trying to mislead the public about what actually happened in the legislature. The General Assembly already passed similar legislation in 2018, and Hogan’s version would affect only a handful of offenders, according to a state analysis. A Department of Legislative Services analysis of the governor’s bill concluded that if the law had been in effect in 2018, it would have meant longer sentences for 13 gun offenders.”
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Handicapped by Hogan
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a 100+ year old institution, met in Annapolis on Friday to discuss its ongoing contractual and financial disputes. The meeting was a part of a work group established by Democrats in the General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session. The goal of the legislation was to resolve the labor dispute, provide a path toward fixing the BSO’s long term financial outlook, and providing emergency funding for the remainder of the performance season.
Hogan failed to veto the bill before the May 2019 deadline and the law took effect. Now he is refusing to release the emergency funding promised to the BSO and its musicians. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record wrote:
“Former state Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, the panel’s chairman, said the panel was not working from the position everyone anticipated when the legislation was passed.
“I think I probably felt back then, as an observer from my perspective, that the money would be provided and the symphony would continue to play,” Kasemeyer said. “Obviously that didn’t occur.”