BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Governor Larry Hogan announced a push Wednesday to provide billions in extra funding to Maryland public schools by ensuring the money coming in from the state’s casino industry doesn’t go anywhere else.
Gov. Hogan says the money should have been going to schools years ago had it not been for flawed legislation.
“As governor I can promise you that money will go towards education,” he said.
The ads were everywhere back in 2008 and 2012. There were commercials urging Maryland voters to pass the “slots for tots” campaign, promoting gambling to help generate money for Maryland public schools.
A WJZ investigation earlier this month revealed that casino money hasn’t exactly increased school funds.
Questions about the casino cash were raised during the cold schools debacle in Baltimore City.
“The voters thought that they were voting for this totally new pot of money for education and they didn’t get it,” said Benjamin Orr of the Center for Economic Policy.
WJZ’s investigation uncovered what voters actually passed was a law that funds, but does not add to the state’s education budget.
Wednesday, Gov. Hogan said it’s time Marylanders got what they were promised and end the “bait and switch” pulled off by the previous administration.
“Ensuring that this money is required to be used the way voters were promised it would be is long overdue,” he said.
The governor proposed a law that would ensure the billions generated by the state’s six casino’s go into a so-called “lockbox,” which would result in more than $4.4 billion for schools over the next decade, with a billion of it going towards school construction.
Some parents generally approve of the governor’s proposition but others remain skeptical.
“If he really means it, it would be an excellent idea and I’ll vote for him again if that’s what he means,” Baltimore parent Cecelia Nichols said.
Hogan’s plan does compete with a similar one proposed by two Maryland lawmakers. The difference is the $1 billion set aside for construction and his would not require voter approval.
“The voters need to get what they were promised,” Gov. Hogan said.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot has been a vocal opponent of gambling. He has called the current law a hoax. He says he supports the governor’s plan.
Gov. Hogan says he doesn’t believe his plan would mean any increase in taxes.