May 25, 2004

The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
Senate President
State House
Annapolis, MD 21401

Dear Mr. President:

In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, today I have vetoed Senate Bill 413 - Baltimore City - Education - Public School Facilities.

Senate Bill 413 would extend the sunset on the Baltimore City local cost share for public school construction until 2007. Without this legislation, the local cost share was due to expire in fiscal year 2005. However, Senate Bill 787/ House Bill 1230 - Public School Facilities Act of 2004 (Chapters 306 and 307 of the Acts of 2004) also passed in the 2004 Legislative Session and was signed by me on May 11, 2004. This legislation was the product of the Task Force to Study Public School Facilities and establishes a more favorable local cost share for Baltimore City. While the current formula requires the State to contribute 90% for the first $20 million in school construction, Senate Bill 787/ House Bill 1230 would require the State to contribute 96%.

Baltimore City's financial problems are well known. Many of its public schools are in deplorable condition. Even with the 90% State share, the City has difficulty putting forth the 10% to do what is needed for the public schools. Senate Bill 787/ House Bill 1230 accomplishes the goal of greater state support for school facilities and gives the children in Baltimore City hope for improved positive learning environments within which to excel.

Therefore, it is not necessary for me to sign Senate Bill 413.

Very truly yours,
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.