And lawmakers will take up proposals to help
But as state senators and delegates gather Wednesday to begin their work, a nearly
A blue-ribbon commission wants
All that would cost roughly
"It's on the front of everyone's mind," said state Sen.
The Assembly's Democratic leaders --
The governor and legislative leaders have already set aside
Leading lawmakers have thus far been reluctant to put forth proposals to raise taxes to pay for billions more in spending for schools.
"It's going to be a heavy lift," said Sen.
"There's no consensus now to raise revenue in this coming session," Pinsky said. "Not yet. I would like there to be. ... I'm one of the first in line to put my hand up and vote green for a new tax."
In the void, two proposals could gain steam as a way to provide some funding: Legalizing, regulating and taxing sports gambling and doing the same for legalized marijuana sold to adults for recreation. But the projected tax revenue from those activities amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, far less than Kirwan's multi-billion price tag.
Busch says the onus is on Hogan to come up with a revenue stream, arguing that the Republican governor often touts his funding of education, and so should be glad to do more of it.
"I think it's his responsibility to come up with a funding source to fund Kirwan for at least the next four years or farther," Busch said. "If not, the legislature will step up and do the best they can."
Busch is suggesting
"Hopefully, we can expand sports betting and dedicate that money to the education fund," he said. "It's not going to bring us a whole lot of money for the state. But it makes the existing casinos more competitive with surrounding states."
For his part, Hogan called the
"They have some good ideas in Kirwan, but we have never seen the proposed formulas or the proposed funding mechanisms for any of it," the governor told
As for Busch's suggestion to use revenue from legalized sports betting, Hogan said he's open to the idea. "There probably will be a way to work out a solution on sports gambling," Hogan said. But he said he's not so eager to legalize marijuana, calling such a proposal "premature."
"We haven't really worked the kinks out of medical marijuana," Hogan said. "It was really screwed up before we got here. It was a mess digging out of it. We're finally getting it on track."
In the meantime, the governor has put forth his proposals, including pushing for a
Busch has put forward an agenda that includes passing legislation to enshrine a woman's right to abortion in the
One proposal under consideration is charging a fee to Marylanders who elect not to buy health coverage. The idea is to encourage them to instead put the fee toward buying insurance, thus expanding market in
"We take up constitutional amendments the year they go on the ballot," Miller said in an interview.
But Miller pledged the
"It's going to happen," Miller said of a minimum wage hike, declining to provide additional details. "We're going to pass something this year."
Miller said he's also pushing for a range of proposals to bolster law enforcement in
He said he is determined to find a way to fund the Kirwan recommendations. "We don't have the formulas from the commission, but we're going to pass what we can," Miller said. "We're going to pass an initial funding proposal as well. Once you put the peg in the ground, they'll never make you pull it back up again."
Miller said the commission's recommendations likely will have to be scaled back.
"It's going to be very challenging," Miller said of coming up with money for the proposals. "
"During the session, people will be paying their taxes and will begin to realize they're paying more," Kipke said. "A large number of taxpayers will be unhappy about that."
Kipke also said
"Even though the Democratic Party did have a successful year in
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