Hogan Re-Directed $1.4 Billion in Casino Revenue Away from Schools & Opposed Democrats’ Amendment During 2018 Legislative Session. Governor Still Can’t Communicate a Vision for Improving Maryland Public Schools.
Annapolis, MD—In the greatest sign yet that Larry Hogan is willing to do anything up to get re-elected, the Governor has released a web video taking credit for the education lockbox constitutional amendment passed by Democrats during the 2018 legislative session.
In the misleading ad, Hogan calls Democrats’ constitutional amendment the “Hogan lockbox initiative,” but here’s the truth:
- In February 2018, two months after Democrats announced their plan and six months after Democratic nominee Ben Jealous called for a lockbox, Hogan tried to block Democrats’ amendment—introducing an opposing measure that would have left decisions up to politicians on where to send the casino revenue. This contrasts with the true “lockbox” that Democrats succeeded in passing that will require Marylanders themselves to approve any changes.
- The constitutional amendment is necessary in large part because Hogan has siphoned off casino revenue that should have gone toward education to backfill $1.4 billion in general funds re-directed to non-education purposes in his four budgets.
“Senator Joan Carter Conway and I worked with our Democratic colleagues to pass the education lockbox amendment and Larry Hogan opposed us every step of the way,” said House Appropriation Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh said. “The truth is that Larry Hogan did everything he could to prevent voters from having a voice on this issue, so for him to now claim credit for it is not only misleading, it is wrong. Maryland voters deserve much better.”
“No governor in the country has as much control over their state budget than Larry Hogan and he has made it clear that fixing the broken promise on casino gaming and education funding is not a priority for him,” said Senate Budget and Tax Committee Vice-Chair Rich Madaleno. “I am disappointed, but not surprised, that after opposing the education lockbox, Larry Hogan is now trying to mislead voters about his position. This is just more proof that after four years of small-minded incrementalism, Hogan is struggling to find a message in a year when voters are looking for candidates with bold plans for the future. Voters are looking for candidates like Ben Jealous.”
“This is an absurd example of Larry Hogan saying one thing on the campaign trail after doing the exact opposite in Annapolis,” said Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost. “Larry Hogan has played a shell game year after year and raided $1.4 billion from the Education Trust Fund. During the 2018 legislative session, he even tried to prevent this constitutional amendment from going on the ballot. We need to pass Question 1 to stop Larry Hogan and every other future governor from using the very budget gimmicks that some politicians decry on the campaign trail and then use time after time once they’re in office.”
“Larry Hogan’s attempts to take credit for the education lockbox after working to block the amendment is another sign that he is willing to mislead voters to win this election,” said Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews. “The truth is that Larry Hogan has stolen $1.4 billion in casino gaming revenue from Maryland schools to fund other parts of his budget. Since Hogan entered office, Maryland’s schools have fallen in national rankings three years in a row, they are underfunded, and our teachers are underpaid and struggling to get by. Ben Jealous is trusted by our teachers and will invest in our schools. No amount of misleading ads will change that.”
Why does Hogan need a constitutional amendment to take budget actions he already has the power to take? The legislature cannot add funding to the budget, so only the governor can fulfill the promise made to voters—and Hogan has repeatedly broken that promise.
In contrast, Ben Jealous has a bold agenda to get Maryland back to doing big things. The Washington Post editorial board recently wrote that given Hogan’s record of “incrementalism and lack of any signature marquee initiative, his challenge is to convince Marylanders that he has a vision for the state.”
Last week, after Democrats called on Hogan to stop misleading Marylanders about the costs of Ben Jealous’ plans to pass universal pre-K, the Baltimore Sun editorial board criticized Hogan’s failure to put forward a plan, writing that the issue “warrants more than Governor Hogan’s shrug of his shoulders.”