Governor Sides with Taxpayers
By Richard Fidler
We’ve heard all the hysteria surrounding Governor Hogan’s decision to fund only half of the $136 million called for by the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI). Montgomery’s share of the unfunded $68 million would be $17 million. Here are a few facts to get in the way of all the emotional outpourings:
1. The budget of Montgomery County Public Schools is about $2.5 billion. That means the $17 million is about two-thirds of one percent of the total MCPS budget. The sky is going to fall because of that?
2. Schools are not being deprived of the GCEI totally; they are still getting half of the $136 million.
3. The $68 million being withheld is going to shore up the pensions of retired state employees. Ask them how they feel about that, especially since the General Assembly reduced the payment to that pension fund from the “guaranteed” $300 million level to $150 million to $75 million. Yet when Gov. Hogan moved to restore the payment to the $150 million level, the General Assembly stuck to the $75 million. Again, ask the state retirees what they think of that.
4. Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch et al. are just playing up to the teachers union. Everyone one knows they are the most powerful special interest group in the state, much more powerful than any union the retired state employees might have. At last we have a governor who is willing to take on the special interest groups.
For our elected leaders – all Democrats – to make inflammatory and baseless remarks about the governor’s decision is disingenuous, to say the least.