From the desk of Delegate Lauren Arikan
District 7B Harford County
Marylanders are disenchanted with being overtaxed by a failing public school system. A new poll by Gonzales Research found that 63% of Maryland voters oppose the looming tax hike required for the hefty spending. Public schools are not producing higher achievement for our students year after year, yet an additional $4 billion of funding each year should mean every student receives a world-class education. Throwing money at failed policies does not work. Parents, students, and taxpayers are right to be skeptical about the promises of the Blueprint for Education. Maryland families and seniors on a fixed income cannot afford to be taxed more. Gonzalez's polling has also consistently shown that more than 90% of Marylanders already think they are taxed enough.
The Kirwan Blueprint for Education was passed in 2021 by overriding Governor Hogan’s veto. It was a party-line vote. Kirwan commits $30 billion in additional educational tax dollars over the first ten years. And then an additional $4 billion every year after that. It is highly likely that with the pending downturn in the economic forecast for Maryland, this ambitious plan will be slowed. And Harford County, along with all the local jurisdictions, will have to also come up with additional funding for their part of the Blueprint program. The 23 counties and Baltimore City have all expressed deep concern about how they will pay their part of the Blueprint bill.
The budget outlook for fiscal year 2028, at the start of Governor Moore’s potential second term, deteriorates substantially. Analysts attribute the sharp decline to the costs of these major education reforms. The projected shortfall that year is more than $1.8 billion due to the ongoing K-12 education enhancements outpacing the availability of special funds in the Blueprint fund. During that time, revenues grew by more than 3%. Projected expenditures outstrip those, growing by 5%.
I am committed to improving Maryland’s public education system for all our students. And I know the public is correct to be skeptical about this massive spending program.
I am too.