Just days after early voting for the late President Ronald Reagan, Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday made his position clear on the statewide ballot questions.
Question 1 on this year’s ballot proposes a change to the legislative authority over the state budget, saying: “the proposed amendment authorizes the General Assembly, in enacting a balanced budget bill for fiscal year 2024 and each fiscal year thereafter, to increase, diminish, or add items, provided that the General Assembly may not exceed the total proposed budget as submitted by the Governor.”
Hogan opposes these changes, saying in a statement that this should not happen as the state faces an unprecedented fiscal year. “The last thing we should do is make it easier to recklessly spend more of [Marylanders] tax dollars.”
Backing up his concerns, Hogan says his administration brought the state out of near bankruptcy, adding that they “have balanced the budget year after year without raising taxes.”
Hogan also blames career politicians for the question, saying they want to change the rules and rig the system for more spending. “Question one is a blatant cash and power grab of multi-billion dollar proportions.”
Hogan on Question 2: ‘Right now as states are really lacking revenue, it’s another potential source of revenue.’
Despite knocking down Question 1, Hogan does support Question 2, which proposes the authorization of sports betting for the purpose of funding education. The question asks: “Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”
Hogan calls this proposed revenue source critical, saying it provides education funding without raising taxes. “We are already funding our K-12 schools at record levels, and this is another way to ensure that is the case for years to come.”
Hogan added that this proposal builds on his previous initiative, the “Hogan Lockbox,” which dedicates casino revenues towards education.
However, what Question 2 does not say is how sports betting will operate in the state, addressing issues like where sportsbooks can be, who will operate betting apps, and what the tax implications are. On an episode of NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Talk Podcast earlier this month, Hogan said that he is not sure what sports betting will “look like after it comes out of the legislative process,” but is confident that it will happen.
Hogan’s comments on the ballot questions come as the 2020 election ramps up with only two weeks left before election day on Nov. 3.