From the Harford County Democratic Central Committee:
It’s been said that no news is good news, and that good news lasts a day while bad news lasts a week. Recently Harford County has had its share of news, and unfortunately not all of it has been good. Social media and newspaper headlines have shared numerous stories of our underfunded school system, and the threats restaurant owners are facing based on prejudices and unnecessary over regulation. These are not the values we believe in and changes must take place to ensure our County isn’t left behind.
In the last several weeks the Harford County Council has listened to hours of public input as they deliberate the budget for FY20. We are proud of the many teachers, parents, students, and members of this committee that have spoken up and marched in large numbers to advocate for fully funding our public schools. While we are encouraged that the budget proposal includes additional funding, it still doesn’t meet the funding needed to keep existing programs, maintain smaller class sizes, provide necessary supplies, raise teacher salaries or incentivize teacher tenure. A well-educated workforce is the staple for any prosperous society and while we understand there are existing budgetary restraints, we are disappointed that our locally elected county officials could not find ways to make up the shortfall in the final budget.
Based on the current formula, Harford County and the State of Maryland contribute nearly 50/50 to funding our school system. This session, a Democratic lead effort passed SB 1030 entitled The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. This legislation will add $855 million directed towards education over the next two years based on recommendations from the Kirwan Commission with more dollars to come in subsequent years. Last week, it was announced that this bipartisan bill will go into effect. Democrats and Republicans have stepped up in Annapolis and in the years come Harford County must do the same – our future depends on it.
While we are advocating for funding on one front, we must remain ever wary of discrimination on another front. This week it was reported that the Harford County Liquor Board’s field inspector was threatening to strip liquor licenses from restaurant owners who host Drag events in their establishments. While drag shows are completely legal within the existing liquor code, this inspector has threatened to interpret a section of the code that deals with provocative acts in order to satisfy his beliefs. These shows have become a recent success in Harford County, usually to sellout crowds. Not only do these shows support local businesses and tourism, but they also on occasion help raise funds for non-profits.
As advocates not only for our party but for our community, we value inclusivity and the right of every business owner to prosper and attract patrons without unnecessary threats from their government. We encourage the Harford County Liquor Board to make clear that business owner’s rights remain intact and that these discriminatory threats cease immediately.
Once again, this shines a poor light on Harford County which makes it that much more difficult for us to attract tourism and new business from surrounding jurisdictions. We are continuing to make progress however and encourage anyone who supports the LBGTQ community to attend the first ever Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride event on June 22nd in Havre de Grace.
We believe that a good education and equality for all are at the core of what makes a community thrive and hope that you will join us in continuing to make Harford County a welcoming and successful place we know it can be for everyone.