ANNAPOLIS — As lawmakers debate a K-12 education overhaul plan this year, a Montgomery County delegate and Democratic House leadership proposed a plan that could raise $2.6 billion in revenue annually to help pay for it.

But on Thursday, Republicans — including Gov. Larry Hogan — heavily criticized the plan.

House Democrats — led by House Majority Leader Eric Luedkte (D-Montgomery), introduced a proposal that would raise $2.6 billion in sales tax annually through the 10-year Kirwan education overhaul plan. The change broadens the state’s sales tax to professional services, while cutting the overall rate from 6 to 5 percent.

Luedtke said after Thursday’s floor session the tax would exempt food, medicine, education services, medical services, social services and nonprofits. Other services, such as accountants and auto mechanics, would be taxed, he added.

“Fundamentally, the question is: Do we think Maryland kids deserve good schools? I do,” Luedtke said. “This is one way to get there, but there are multiple options to get there and we’re still looking at everything.”

Hogan criticized the plan in a news briefing Thursday. He said it would hurt middle-class families and is the highest proposed sales tax in the state’s history.

He listed several services that would be taxed: dog walkers, landscaping, barbers and day care.

“I’ve been saying for at least six months, almost every day, that the Legislature was going to propose billions of dollars in new taxes to help pay for this program,” Hogan said. “And they all continued to say, ‘No, we’re not going to propose billions in new taxes.’”

“I specifically said they were going to raise the sales tax, and they said they would not raise the sales tax. ... It is a tax on working families,” he continued, adding he would not support the proposal.

After Thursday’s floor session, House Minority Leader Nic Kipke (R-Anne Arundel) pointed to another issue: the impact the tax would have on government contractors.

“Government contractors that exist in Maryland who do business with the NSA, and cyber defense, are going to have a 5 percent disadvantage right from the get-go when they bid on contracts,” Kipke said. “So places like Virginia become much more attractive, and they already are attractive.”

More broadly, the fiscal and policy note attached to the legislation references the interim report of the Kirwan Commission — a body that worked for about three years to help draft the legislation.

That interim report estimates the total state and local share at $3.8 billion annually “at full implementation.” Democratic leaders repeated in interviews and in legislative proceedings this month the first three years of Kirwan are already funded.

Despite this, Del. Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick and Carroll), the Frederick County delegation chair, said earlier this week he was wary of adding any taxes in any form during the entirety of the plan.

“I did not run for office to raise taxes. … Maryland is a relatively small state, but it’s a wealthy state,” Pippy said. “Money has not been an issue. We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.”

Before the House’s proposal was introduced, Sen. Ron Young (D-Frederick), vice chair of the Frederick County delegation, was supportive of most aspects of a tax on services.

He identified, however, one service he’s uneasy about taxing.

“The only one I’m a little hesitant on is an auto mechanic,” Young said. “A lot of poor people got to get to work, and their car breaks down, and I don’t want to put extra burdens on [them].”

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(39) comments

Quisling

“Fundamentally, the question is: Do we think Maryland kids deserve good schools?" NO I SPEND ENOUGH MONEY TO EDUCATE OTHER PEOPLES CHILDREN

FrederickFan

The only way to make America great again, is to educate America. Maryland Democrats are right. Without making a change, we will continue to get exactly the same educational results that have brought us to where we are today:

1. America is somewhere around 17th in the world at educating itself, and falling further behind the rest of the world.

2. 48% of voting Americans believe a mentally unstable, disgusting, narcissistic, reality show buffoon is worthy of being President.

3. America is losing its ability to compete in manufacturing. Without education, we will continue to lose our technological, engineering, and intellectual advantages. After that, we will be doomed to be taken advantage by the other, more superior countries of the world.

So, as we bicker and argue about spending more money on education, the future of the America we are leaving to our children and their children grows ever more bleak. Like the Roman Empire, future generations will read about the rise and fall of America.

gabrielshorn2013

1. Maryland is not the entire US. The US ranks anywhere between #2 and #27, depending on the poll. This story deals with MD only. Maryland ranks 25th in the nation in high school graduation rates (89.8%) Montana ranks #1 at 93%, and Arizona ranks 51st at 82.1%. We rank 4th in the nation with the percent of the population with Bachelor’s degrees (39%) behind CO, MA, and DC. We rank 3rd in the nation with the percent of population with an advanced degree (18%) behind MA and DC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_educational_attainment

2. Irrelevant gratuitous assertion, unrelated to the story.

3. American’s inability to compete in manufacturing has nothing to do with educational attainment. Most manufacturing jobs were those not requiring significant education, where OJT could suffice. Those jobs moved where the manufacturing costs were lower, such as Mexico and China, and not where education levels were higher. Hi tech manufacturing does require a higher level of education, and there are over a million jobs open for those with education beyond HS. Does that mean our schools are failing, or that kids don’t want to go to college to get those jobs?

corgikid

I think it's over 53% now and looking like a landslide. Unless the opposition can come up with a capitalist patriot (where none exist in that party), you're going to be disappointed, once again FF.

sue1955

It sounds like this proposal is to take care of the proliferation of immigrants (legal and not) in Maryland and, also, to try to remedy the crime element of the existing and would-be perps supposedly with no interest in living a responsible life. I'm guessing that the Dems' push to throw money at areas of low-income students where crime is more rampant would uplift those tendencies.

However, "No Child Left Behind" did not work in any meaningful way. Previously mentioned months ago, an old boyfriend found that out. He was a teacher in an inner city Charlotte, NC school, a (liberal) pastor, worked with homeless, and later an administrator in a Christian college (in Charlotte). He was one who thought that he could "make a difference." He got permanently injured and other disgusting things happened to him.

Citizens in Maryland cannot take on any further taxation and we shouldn't have to do so. The cost of living in this area is already through the roof. As I have said in previous posts, those (who I know with no medical issues) who can afford to make the move to other desirable types of places find that life goes on. In other words, there is nothing really that this area offers that is particularly extraordinary.

DickD

I am against any regressive tax and a sales tax is regressive. Also, the Governor's reasons for not supporting the bill are weak, he can and should be able to do better than that.

"He listed several services that would be taxed: dog walkers, landscaping, barbers and day care."   Dog walkers?  How many are companies and how much of that money ever gets reported?  And if you can't afford the sales tax, what are you doing hiring someone to walk your dog?  Landscaping is more likely to be taxed, but how many are done by someone other than a company?  Barbers?  Sure, you can tax them, but how often do you get a haircut?  Day care?  Does he mean for children?  And would that include pre kindergarten schools?  And he left out a host of them, such as grooming, grocery deliveries, etc.  It could be a long list.  Probably none of them know what would really happen.

gabrielshorn2013

Check the daily poll dick. You are in the very small majority that would support this by raising taxes. Taxes should apply to everyone evenly, regardless of income. How would you apply any other tax such as sales or property taxes? The cashier asks you for your salary at checkout to apply the proper rate? The less wealthy pay a lower rate than the wealthy for their home? The receptionist asks for my income to calculate my hotel room tax when I travel? Ridiculous.

So, you believe that because there is a population of services whose services are only used periodically, therefore they deserve to be taxed? No. Are you supporting service companies to get paid in cash so they don't have to report their income? An underground economy? It sounds like it with your opinion about dog-walkers.

shiftless88

Regressive taxes are not appropriate. I don't know why they cannot do a progressive tax. Let's say 5% under $5k and 5% for any amount over that.

gabrielshorn2013

If you use that definition shiftless, every tax is regressive, except for income tax. The best tax plans are those that are broad in scope and a low rate. Flat taxes are among the fairest, as they don't target any particular group. Buy more, pay more. Buy less, pay less. I don't understand your example. Are you saying that the cashier asks each customer for their tax return to verify their income? That's the only way you will get compliance. If not, Maryland will quickly become the most impoverished state in the Union, based on sales tax charged. Everybody will suddenly make less than minimum wage, or so they will tell the cashier.

MD1756

The first thing they should do is eliminate the income tax deduction/credit parents get for having the children, not raise taxes. It is discrimination that those of us with no children are taxed more to pay for education (and once again I'm not saying we shouldn't have taxes go to support education but it is discriminatory to make us pay more). What they really need to do is impose an environmental impact tax on children (growing human population) at some level (maybe let the first two children have no impact on taxes but above two children (unless adopted) should be taxed because of the adverse impact a growing human population has on climate change, the environment, quality of life, etc.)

gabrielshorn2013

makes sense md1756

Blueline

Here's a way to solve this. Leave Sales Tax alone, implement Kirwan and put a special tax on politicians & teachers to cover the costs. Then sit back and see how valuable they think it is.

Comment deleted.
gabrielshorn2013

Apparently you didn't understand the hypothetical posed by blueline. Too many people are in favor of "taxing the other guy", as long as they get the benefit without having to pay the tax. If the roles were reversed, how many would be in favor of raising taxes? Not too many.

mr_twist27

Such an amazing and insightful statement by Senator Young "Young said. “A lot of poor people got to get to work". Thank you Senator Young for your valuable leadership 🙄

newspostreader

Here is an idea. Stop giving tax breaks to those with children. If you're going to have children, pay for them. Meanwhile, they get a tax break while others without children pay for it.

tonyc51

[thumbup]

LAR1

[thumbup]

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup]

Luckypig59

[thumbup]

shiftless88

Yep. Or add a tax break for dogs

MD1756

[thumbup]

Reader1954

instead of adding taxes how about raising the percentage of lottery money that was suppose to pay for the schools.

micky

You can not buy student achievement !! Check the statistics. The lowest achievement is in the districts with the highest per pupil expenditures. Just give everyone more money, job done !! Thanks legislators, problem solved (again).

Frayou

Here we are again. Politicians wanting to raise taxes for education. The Lottery. Gambling casinos. Politicians claimed taxes from both were going to eliminate education budgets shortfalls.

Frayou

Suspect proposal to raise taxes a precursor for Legalized marijuanas.

gabrielshorn2013

Yeah, you always have to watch both hands when new taxes are proposed. The pols in Annapolis are better than Penn & Teller at slight of hand. At least P&T show you how it's done. If you ask Annapolis, they turn on the fog machine.

The Grape of Wrath

It's good the sales tax would be lowered to 5% (it should be 0%) which is a step in the right direction. But good heavens! They're going to tax dog walkers!! What evil people those Democrats are! Don't they know dog walkers should be exempt from sales tax, just like critical items like food??

des21

Amazing but typical: Education achievement is plummeting across Maryland. The Kirwan Commission's recommendation- let's try to do everything else AND educate the children. How about we try to do well what we are responsible for doing rather than "fix" the problem by simply making it one of 15 services we deliver through schools? As has been pointed out here by my detractors, education is no guarantor of intelligence. Veto it Mr. Governor. God help us when he leaves- right Dick?

(Before Trump, Dick's first "the end is near" moment was when he was predicting the end of democracy in Maryland with Hogan's election. That guy (Dick) has been wrong so many time you'd think he'd have a "Paul on the road to Damascus" moment. Still waiting..............

Thewheelone

Des, the graduation rate for Maryland schools has remained around 87% since 2014. As educators, I feel confident that we both agree that 13% of the kids not graduating is too high, but the data hardly shows that "education achievement is plummeting." This year, there are more kids enrolled in Maryland schools than ever before.

des21

I was referring more to test scores which are down somewhat significantly state-wide which is surprising given the amount of money we spend per student- if there weren't actually a negative correlation between per pupil spending and educational achievement (measured any of half a dozen different ways) which there is and has been for at least 30 years.

gabrielshorn2013

Des, is there any granularity to that analysis, or just statewide? Are there districts that are bucking the downward trend? Are there districts that are pulling down state averages? If so, I wonder what their respective costs are per student.

MD1756

Wouldn't greater parental involvement in their children's education be the best solution?

DickD

Pretty boisterous for someone that supports a crook in the White House!

gabrielshorn2013

[offtopic]

niceund

Throwing billions at schools will not solve the problem. You don't get quality education by through money. You get quality education through good, qualified teachers and good parents who back them. I'm embarrassed to live in the state of Maryland. It used to be a great place but now Democrats are taxing the life out of everything. I'm thinking that Ron young is related to Mike Bloomberg with his sarcastic, arrogant remarks. Saying we can't tax auto mechanics because poor people have to get to work is a slap in the face to everyone in the state. Maryland has become California of the East Coast.

Schafspelz

I know I'll work harder with a gun in my back for a bowl of rice a day but Larry... These are your new best buddies! Since you've been bent over so long, what is so upsetting about this???

User1

Ah yes...the old “it’s for the children” routine. So make us feel good by lowering the tax 1% to where it was BUT tax just about everything now! What happened to all the “school” money that the state lottery was supposed to raise? And nowhere does the article state what amount of this new revenue will go towards the schools. It could be the whole amount (which I highly doubt) or it could be a measly $1.00 let’s have a “head” tax. The federal government states the average family has 2.2 kids. Let’s levy a tax on the families that have more so the families that have less don’t have to subsidize.

tonyc51

[thumbup]

Frayou

Precursor towards legalizing recreational marijuana, in leu of more taxes. It a strategy by state politicians which go back to legalizing the lottery. Politicians likely paid some political strategists to come up with current tax proposals.

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