Best use of our tax dollars – education reform for equality

slate_for_school.jpgAs Maryland General Assembly members are putting together funding bills to improve the state's educational system, a new study from the Economic Policy Institute points up, state by state, the burning need for a quality system of early childhood education -- and how it is failing badly in Maryland as it is in most states across the nation. the Maryland Legislative Coalition provides the details on the funding package as it takes shape in the Assembly session.



 

 

/PM BlogSpace Report/ An Economic Policy Institute survey of state-by-state needs in improving education – especially early childhood education, or ECE – shows Maryland needs significant new funding for an equitable education.

Though the one-state-at-a-time methodology of the study can give a bit of a cookie-cutter flavor to the report, it has specifics for Maryland that track with what the General Assembly is putting together as a financial package to match the needs. The package is part of the overall funding effort for the Kirwan program to improve teaching and learning from early childhood through high school graduation.

Here is a precis of the EPI report for Maryland, which can be found in its entirely at this link. Below the precis, we include the latest on the finance bills from the Maryland Legislative Coalition.

NEEDED: A VALUES-BASED ECE SYSTEM

In states across the nation, underfunding of early child care and education (ECE) is compromising the well-being of ECE teachers and the children in their care. [The true cost of] a comprehensive, high-quality ECE system in Maryland is not fully understood. Proposals for ECE reform have focused primarily on improving access and affordability for families but have ignored the elephant in the room: Early care and education is substantially “funded” through low teacher pay and inadequate supports for ECE teachers, who are primarily women, specifically women of color. Policymakers and other stakeholders in Maryland have an opportunity to disrupt this suboptimal status quo and ensure that Maryland’s ECE system has the funding it needs to work effectively for children, families, and teachers. Without well-qualified and fairly compensated early educators, ECE programs will not be able to provide and sustain a high standard of care for the children of Maryland. Creating a values-based budget for early care and education requires aligning costs with what is needed.

WHAT WILL A VALUES-BASED ECE SYSTEM COST?

A values-based budget for early care and education that ensures a well-qualified and fairly compensated early care workforce providing a high standard of care for the children of the state would cost from $8 billion to $10.9 billion, or $36,000 to $39,000 per child, annually, when fully phased in.1

For context, this amounts to 1.9% to 2.7% of Maryland’s GDP.2 We estimate that an overhauled ECE system in Maryland would serve between 225,000 and 297,000 children and would employ between 92,000 and 124,000 ECE teachers at fair wages.3

These costs acknowledge what policymakers are beginning to recognize: we can’t solve the child care crisis without a major investment.

Core principles of a values-based ECE budget

  • To attract and retain highly skilled teachers, Maryland’s ECE system must offer good wages, guaranteed benefits, and healthy working conditions.
  • Lower class size, improved working conditions including planning time, and a benefits package is required for a top ECE workforce. ECE teachers are… teachers.slate_for_school.jpg

The problems

The poverty rate for early educators in Maryland is 13.1%, more than twice as high as for Maryland workers in general (6%).

Despite low early educator pay, care still costs too much for families.7 and low pay fuels turnover among early educators, adding instability to the system.

A new system that draws more heavily on public financing would not just have the capacity to provide high-quality early care for more children, but would also lessen the burden that parents face under the current system.

How will Maryland benefit from a values-based ECE budget?

A serious investment in early care and education in line with the key values articulated in this model will create a skilled and stable ECE workforce that can deliver high-quality services and meet growing demand.15 as well as remove barriers to work and increase employment and earnings among parents, particularly mothers.16


Here are the bills in the education package to support the Kirwan program, in some cases with hearing dates. Note that some were today (Wednesday, January 29). Read Tuesday’s entire dispatch on education funding from the Maryland Legislative Coalition here.


HEARING ON JANUARY 29th at 1:00 pm BUDGET AND TAX COMMITTEE:
SB0002 - Digital Advertising Gross Revenues - Taxation - Senator Miller
                Imposes a tax on gross revenues from digital advertising
SB0003 - Electronic Smoking Devices, Other Tobacco Products and Cigarettes - Taxation and Regulation - Senator McCray
                Includes electronic cigarettes in the cigarette tax
SB0216 - Income Tax - Carried Interest - Additional Tax - Senator Pinsky
                Applies a 19% surcharge on taxable income from investment management services provided in the state
SB0311 - Corporate Tax Fairness Act of 2020 - Senator Pinsky
                Closes loopholes on out-of-state corporations doing business in Maryland that don't pay tax on goods shipped here

HEARING ON FEBRUARY 5th at 1:00 pm BUDGET AND TAX COMMITTEE:
SB0325 - Constitutional Amendment - Gaming - Expansion - Senator King
                Places a referendum on Sports Betting on the ballot

HEARING ON FEBRUARY 7th at 1:00 pm WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE:
HB0439 - Income Tax - Carried Interest - Additional Tax - Delegate Mosby
                Applies a 19% surcharge on taxable income from investment mgmt services provided by the state

HEARING ON FEBRUARY 13th at 1:00 pm WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE:
HB0222 - Income Tax Rates - Capital Gains Tax - Delegate Palakovich Carr
                Imposes a 1% surtax on capital gains income
HB0223 - End Ineffective Business Subsidies Act of 2020 - Delegate Palakovich Carr
                Repeals several business subsidy programs that were determined to be deeply flawed 
HB0256 - Maryland Estate Tax - Unified Credit - Delegate Wilkins
                Resets estate tax exemption back to $1M from $5M
HB0295 - Corporate Income Tax - Combined Reporting - Delegate Lierman
                Requires multistate corporations to pay their share of corporate taxes for MD subsidiary profits

NO HEARING YET - WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE:
HB0400 - Tax - General - Vaping Product Tax - Delegate Pena Melnyk
                 Includes vaping products in cigarette tax
HB0473 - Corporate Income Tax - Throwback Rule - Delegate Stewart
                Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their share of taxes for profits from MD sales
HB0507 - Income Tax - Pass-Through Entity - Additional Tax - Delegate Palakovich Carr
                Applies a 4% entity-level tax on profits over $1M for LLCs