Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said this General Assembly session stands to be the worst in Maryland history if a controversial bill and House budget are successful.
In Annapolis on Monday, the Republican governor took aim at the recently passed $46.7 billion state House budget bill, which calls for a big spike in education funding, and another piece of legislation that seeks to raise the minimum wage.
“This is exactly the kind of reckless, unsustainable and irresponsible behavior that we have been working so hard to reverse,” Hogan said.
On the House budget plan, Hogan said the money isn’t there to cover the price tag and that he believes residents want more clear plans on accountability from school districts before they are given more funding.
The House bill included $320 million more to fund recommendations from a study by a state commission. It also earmarked $500 million for school construction, and $133 million will go toward special education programs.
Also, in the days following a protest by teachers in Annapolis, the bill included $75 million that will raise teacher salaries.
Before it was passed by the House on Thursday, Democratic Del. Maggie McIntosh, of Baltimore, praised what she called a balanced budget. “Vote for one of the best budgets, if not the best budget, I have ever seen for the children of Maryland,” McIntosh said.
The Senate has yet to pass its budget.
Hogan also blasted a bill that aims to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Dubbed the “Fight for 15,” a House version of the bill is back in the House’s court.
One sticking point between similar House and Senate bills are on the amount of time smaller businesses will get to comply.
The bill calls for the minimum wage in the state to be raised to $15 by 2025.
“It’s estimated that this action would result in the elimination of 99,000 jobs for the very people who desperately need them the most,” Hogan said.
He recently offered a compromise that would raise the minimum wage to $12.10 an hour by 2022.
Supporters of the minimum wage hike believe the legislation is necessary to lift thousands of families out of poverty and grow the economy in the state.
When it came to this bill and the budget, Hogan urged both sides to come together and reach what he called “common sense bipartisan solutions.”
The final day of the General Assembly session is April 8.