The Maryland Senate voted unanimously for a constitutional amendment that would increase schools’ funding in taxes on casino profits. The bill, known as Fix the Fund, was approved shortly after thousands of teachers rallied in support of the bill outside the Annapolis State House on Monday evening.
Monday’s vote calls for a constitutional amendment to be added to the November vote. It aims to strengthen education funds through taxes on casino income. Supporters of revising the fund bill believe that the money originally set aside for school funding is being transferred to other areas of the state budget. According to the Maryland Education Association, $1.7 billion in casino revenue has gone to education trust funds since 2012, but these funds have not been used to help schools and students.
Hundreds of teachers, parents and school staff gathered in front of the Annapolis State House last Monday to support the proposed constitutional amendment. They are opposed to less funding for education and called for a change in the way they raise funds. The amendment will now move to the House of Representatives, where, if passed, it will go to Maryland voters in November. The bill does not require the governor’s signature, which greatly simplifies the process.
The Maryland Education Association says the current education gap is $2.9 billion, and if approved, the Fix the Fund Bill will increase school funding by $500 million. While this is not enough to bridge the gap, supporters of the proposal say it is a definitely promising first step in the right direction.
How much do Maryland casinos actually contribute?
Maryland collects taxes from land-based casinos, and some of the taxed amounts are used for education. Slot machines are taxed at a rate of 67% of total game revenue, of which nearly half (48.5%) is spent on educational trust funds. Table games, on the other hand, are taxed at 20% of all game gross revenues, and all funds collected from these games go to schools.
In addition to casino tax revenues, Maryland schools must receive funding from the state lottery. Lottery revenues are deposited in the state general fund, which supports several sectors and programs, including public health, education, and public safety. 온라인경마
Official statistics show that gambling contributed nearly $330 million to the Education Trust Fund in 2016, with 2017 figures expected to exceed $500 million. However, Maryland’s general fund has cut the money allocated to education. In 2017, 18% of the money was spent on education, compared to 21% in 2009.