McIntosh, Conway will push amendment putting Maryland casino revenue in ‘lockbox’ for education – The Baltimore Sun

By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

Two leading General Assembly Democrats plan to introduce a constitutional amendment that would put the state’s share of revenue from its casino gambling industry in a “lockbox” for public schools.

Del. Maggie McIntosh, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said the amendment would ensure that gambling taxes are not used to finance the state’s K-12 educational funding formula but to enhance it. The Senate co-sponsor, Sen. Joan Carter Conway, noted that education is the only spending priority required in the Maryland Constitution.

McIntosh said in an interview Friday that the proposal would help keep a promise made to voters when they approved casino gambling in Maryland in 2008 and expanded it in 2012 — that the state’s share of the revenue would go largely to improve education.

“Voters believed that money was safe, that it could not . . . be raided,” McIntosh said. “The public really feels they were gamed in this.”

Benjamin Orr, executive director of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, said McIntosh’s idea “has potential” but that he need to see the details. He said a commission headed by former University of Maryland Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan is likely to recommend that the state raise an additional $2 billion or more to pay for public schools.

Read the full article