Comptroller Franchot Statement on Starting Maryland Public Schools After Labor Day

Annapolis, Md. (August 24, 2015) – “With thousands of students returning to Maryland public schools today, I would like to thank teachers, administrators and support staff for their hard work, selfless dedication and commitment to making a difference in our children’s lives. They have my continued support and appreciation for the sacrifices they make each and every day. This is an exciting time for students and families, and I wish them success in the coming school year.

By next Monday, students from all but one of Maryland’s 24 public school systems will return to the classroom. Sending kids back to school during the hot and humid days of August just doesn’t make sense to me – or to an overwhelming majority of Marylanders that support starting the state’s public schools after the Labor Day holiday. Very rarely does an issue make so much sense that it crosses all demographic, geographic and partisan lines like this one does, as evidenced by Governor Larry Hogan’s support, along with the 13,240 Marylanders from every corner of the state who signed the “Let Summer Be Summer” petition.

Despite facing firmly entrenched opposition from within the educational bureaucracy, this issue is just too important for me to back down. Once again, I will put my full support behind legislation to make a sensible change to Maryland’s public school calendars. As with most legislation that is introduced, I recognize that this is a multi-year effort.  With the tremendous support of families, teachers and small business owners I have met while traveling across our state, I am more certain than ever that this is an issue of great importance to our quality of life and our economy.  An independent poll by Goucher College found that 72 percent of Marylanders favor adjusting the school calendar and a Virginia Commonwealth University study showed no link between a pre-Labor Day school start and student achievement.

A legislative task force chaired by a representative of the Maryland State Department of Education voted overwhelming to endorse the initiative, concluding that starting school after Labor Day could easily be accomplished without moving the end of the school year beyond mid-June. Worcester County, the only school system with a post-Labor Day start, has been able to do so without extending the school year or creating major disruptions.

Starting school after Labor Day would give teachers, who have to return to classrooms in the stifling heat of mid-August, sometimes in schools without air conditioning, the break they need to recharge their batteries and to spend more quality time with their own families. Students would have greater opportunity to learn life lessons outside the classroom, including those involved in agricultural organizations like 4-H and Future Farmers of America. These kids work incredibly hard all year to earn a spot at the Maryland State Fair, only to have to choose between attending the start of school or exhibiting at the state fair. Simply put, a post-Labor Day start to school would give more families the time to build lasting memories.

Small businesses that lose seasonal workers would get a much needed boost during these tough economic times. A 2013 study conducted by Maryland’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates determined that a post-Labor Day school start could generate an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue.

I have complete confidence that our local school systems can make reasonable and modest adjustments to the school calendar to make a post-Labor Day start work for each of their communities. While there are significant economic benefits to changing the school calendar, this is ultimately about family and about the precious, but fleeting time parents have to spend with their kids.”

Media Contact: Michelle Byrnie-Parker 410-260-6346 (office) 443-336-0215

Comptroller Franchot’s Statement Regarding Governor Hogan

Annapolis, Md. (June 22, 2015) – “Along with every Marylander, I am deeply saddened by today’s news about my dear friend, Governor Hogan, and I am praying this afternoon for him; his wonderful wife, Yumi; their daughters, Julie, Jaymi and Kim, and his entire family.

 However, I’m comforted by the knowledge that the Governor is one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever met, as well as a man of deep and abiding faith. With Yumi and his entire family at his side, I know that he will approach this latest challenge with the same sense of determination and resolve that has made him so successful in business, politics and government.

 In the meantime, I stand ready to assist Governor Hogan and our exceptional Lieutenant Governor, Boyd Rutherford, in any way possible in the days, weeks and months to come.”

 

Media Contact: Michelle Byrnie-Parker (cell) 443-336-0215, (office) 410-260-7199

Franchot Statement on Sen. Mikulski’s Retirement Announcement

(March 2, 2015 Annapolis, Md) “Throughout her trailblazing career in public service, Barbara Mikulski has always been a fierce champion for Maryland’s children, women and working families, and a powerful voice for Americans who otherwise would have been forgotten and left behind. Our state and our country are far better off today because of Senator Mikulski’s leadership. I am grateful for the opportunity to know this extraordinary woman and to have worked with her throughout our years in elected office, and I know that she will continue to fight for those values to which she’s dedicated her life.”

Upper Marlboro Branch Office Remains Closed While Repairs Made to Courthouse

Taxpayers Directed to Other Offices for Help or to Use Taxpayer Service Hotline

Annapolis, Md. (February 25, 2015) – Due to ongoing repairs from burst pipes at the Prince George’s County Courthouse where the Comptroller Office’s Upper Marlboro branch office is located, taxpayers may seek tax services at the agency’s other locations or by phone. The district court wing, where the branch office is located, will remain closed until repairs are completed and the wing is re-opened. In the meantime, taxpayers may visit the offices in Annapolis, Landover or Waldorf at the following locations:

Annapolis
Revenue Administration Center
110 Carroll St.
Annapolis, MD 21141

Landover
Treetops Bldg., Suite 101
8181 Professional Place
Landover, MD 20785

Waldorf
Suite 202
1036 St. Nicholas Dr.
Waldorf, MD 20603

The Upper Marlboro branch office is one of 12 locations throughout the state where taxpayers can receive free Maryland income tax assistance. Taxpayers also can receive assistance over the phone by calling Taxpayer Service at 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland, or 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) from elsewhere. For a complete list of branch locations, Marylanders can visit www.MarylandTaxes.com.

Preston Elementary School Tour

Comptroller Franchot tours Preston Elementary School in Caroline County where two new additions are being built and renovations are underway. When completed, the school will have a new kitchen, cafeteria, gymnasium and a larger media center.

Comptroller Franchot signs his name to the construction beam strategically located in one of the school’s new additions. The beam has also been signed by Preston Elementary School students and staff.

Comptroller Franchot gets briefed on construction progress.

Comptroller Franchot Urges Marylanders to Shop Maryland Energy, Februray 14 – 16

Tax-free Weekend for Select Energy Star Products

Annapolis, MD (February 3, 2015) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today reminded Marylanders to take advantage of Shop Maryland Energy, a tax-free weekend for select Energy Star products beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14,  and ending  at 11:59 p.m. Monday, February 16. Now in its sixth year, the annual tax-free weekend allows Marylanders to make qualifying purchases without paying the state’s six percent sales tax.

“Shop Maryland Energy has been hugely successful because it’s good for the economy and it’s good for the environment,” said Comptroller Franchot. “Marylanders save money on their purchases, reduce their future energy bills and invest in a greener future. Local stores that employ our friends and neighbors also benefit by getting a boost during these tough economic times.”

Energy Star products eligible for the six percent tax break include air conditioners, washers and dryers, furnaces, heat pumps, standard-size refrigerators, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, dehumidifiers and programmable thermostats. To earn an Energy Star designation, an appliance must meet strict energy efficiency requirements developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This is a great opportunity to shop at one of our local Maryland retailers and get a tax break on big- ticket, energy efficient appliances like washers and dryers, as well as smaller items like LED light bulbs.” said Patrick Donoho, President of the Maryland Retailers Association. “Shoppers see immediate savings at the register and over the life of the appliance.”

The Energy Star program was established in 1992 to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy. The Energy Star label assists consumers in identifying energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features or comfort.

A list of Energy Star items may be found at: www.energystar.gov. For more information, visit the Comptroller of Maryland’s Web site, www.marylandtaxes.com, e-mail shopmaryland@comp.state.md.us, or call 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland, or toll-free, 1-800-MD-TAXES.

Comptroller Franchot will visit appliance stores participating in the initiative throughout Maryland during the week leading up to the tax-free weekend. Below is a list of his scheduled appearances:

February 9th
12:30 p.m.
R. Brooks and Son
115 Maryland Avenue
Cambridge, MD 21613

February 11th
9:30 a.m.
Spichers Appliances & Electronics
13427 Pennsylvania Ave
Hagerstown, MD 21742

February 12th
12:30 p.m.
Bray and Scarf
2087 West Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

2:15 p.m.
Cummins Appliance
1708 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, MD 21208

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Gold, 410-260-7816 (office), 443- 871-3435 (cell)

Franchot Asks Marylanders to Share What Starting School After Labor Day Means to Them

Selected Videos to be Posted on “Let Summer Be Summer” YouTube Channel

Annapolis, Md. (February 9, 2015) – Building on the overwhelming success of his “Let Summer Be Summer” petition drive, Comptroller Peter Franchot is now asking Marylanders to submit videos describing what starting school after Labor Day would mean to them and their families.

“I would like to hear from citizens from across our great state and share those video testimonials with lawmakers,” Comptroller Franchot said. “The more than 13,240 Marylanders who signed the petition have made it clear they support starting school after Labor Day to give families, students, teachers and small businesses the break they need, and deserve. It gives students time to learn life lessons beyond the classroom, teachers time to recharge their batteries and small businesses a much needed boost during tough economic times.”

 To submit a video, please follow these guidelines:

  • Email videos to letsummerbesummer@gmail.com
  • Any videos exceeding the 25MB limit of Gmail must be posted online on YouTube or Vimeo and the web address (URL) provided.
  • The videos should not exceed two minutes in length.
  • Please include your name, address and email.

Each person will receive a personal thank you from the Comptroller and those who submit an especially funny or clever video will receive a “Let Summer Be Summer” T-shirt. The best videos will be posted on the Let Summer Be Summer YouTube channel.

Last month at a press conference in Annapolis, Comptroller Franchot along with Gov. Larry Hogan, Ocean City Mayor Richard W. Meehan, state Sen. James N. Mathias Jr. and other elected officials announced the results of the “Let Summer Be Summer” petition drive. With overwhelming support from every corner of the state, more than 13,240 people signed the petition. Gov. Hogan also added his name to the signatures and fondly recalled spending Labor Day weekend working in Ocean City before heading back to the classroom.

Last August, the campaign kicked off on the Ocean City Boardwalk and Deep Creek Lake. The list of supporters, which continues to grow, has been presented to members of the General Assembly. The grassroots, citizen-led “Let Summer Be Summer” petition campaign came on the heels of a May 2014 governor’s task force recommendation that the state’s public schools delay opening until after Labor Day. The state task force met for nearly a year and voted 11 to 4 to embrace a later start date and extend summer vacation statewide.

The previous summer, the Comptroller released an economic impact report on a post-Labor Day start for public schools. Completed by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, the report found that a delayed school start in Maryland would result in an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity including $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office) 410-212-9414 (cell)