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Kirwan Reforms Among Slew Of Spending, Tax Measures Vetoed By Gov. Hogan

May 8th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

In the weeks after lawmakers rushed to adjourn early due to the threat of the coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan indicated that any bills that included added state spending would be a tough sell. WBAL reports the Governor made good on that Thursday, vetoing a number of spending and tax measures. They include the codification of the Kirwan Commission's recommended education reforms, reforms Hogan criticized as unaffordable long before the coronavirus clouded Maryland's finances.

"The General Assembly passed a number of bills worthy of consideration, but COVID-19 has caused sudden and unprecedented economic turmoil," Hogan said in a statement. "The impact from COVID-19 on state and local budgets, on small businesses, and on struggling Marylanders is devastating and is potentially worse than anything since the Great Depression."

The vetoed bills also included $580 million in funding for historically black colleges and universities, and the General Assembly's alternative plan to address violent crime in Baltimore City.

In a letter explaining his vetoes of the crime measures, Hogan chastised lawmakers for not passing his own proposals.

"While the Senate approved the package by a wide margin, the House failed to act upon it, and thus failed to meaningfully address violent crime," Hogan wrote.

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones said she was disappointed by Hogan's veto of the Kirwan reforms.

"While we are in the midst of a public health and economic crisis of an extraordinary magnitude, stopping progress on education and school construction puts us even further behind," Jones said in a statement. "We know that there are students across this State that are losing millions of hours of learning. The result of this short-sighted action is Maryland will continue to graduate students that are not ready for the real world.

Democrats have a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly. Jones said she would talk to Senate President Bill Ferguson about their next steps.

“With today’s actions, instead of setting us on a path to a secure recovery, the Governor is stopping all progress where it stands," Ferguson said in a statement. "The Governor had a choice today to reject traditional politics and work together to adjust shared visions and build a strong future after this crisis. Instead, he chose to foreclose hope, leaving Maryland families and historically black colleges and universities with an open question for the future."

Hundreds of laws were allowed to become law without his signature, including a school construction bill, hate crime legislation and a measure to put a sports gambling referendum before voters in the fall.

Also now law is a bill that secures bonds critical to a deal brokered between The Stronach Group and Baltimore City. The deal would see the city take over Pimlico Race Course, which it would then lease back to the Maryland Jockey Club for the racing season, including the Preakness Stakes.

"The Act, which addressed vexing issues that had long challenged the industry, now allows for the bright future and optimism of the Preakness at Pimlico for generations to come, year round racing at Laurel Park making it the epicenter of training and racing in the Mid-Atlantic, and the unprecedented reinvestment in the communities of interest served by the tracks," jockey club attorney Alan Rifkin said in a statement.

Leaders in the General Assembly plan to hold a special session later this year, but one has not yet been scheduled.



One Response to “Kirwan Reforms Among Slew Of Spending, Tax Measures Vetoed By Gov. Hogan”

  1. May 08, 2020 at 7:51 am, Welchy said:

    We still don’t know know what George Edwards got for Garrett County for voting for Kirwan. Would be nice to get a Cumberland person in


Leave a Reply to Welchy