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Editorial - The P.G. money grab

August 04, 1997

Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening has upset many Prince Georges County citizens, not only because of the financial problems he left for his successor as county executive but also for his insistence on ending non-profit groups' "casino nights" there. Now the governor seems ready to make amends.

Unfortunately, he wants to do it with $250 million in state funds, in a mirror of the settlement recently bestowed on the Baltimore City school system. In Baltimore's case, the money was promised to end a lawsuit over whether children there were receiving an adequate education. In Prince Georges County the the cash would go for construction of new neighborhood schools as the county gets ready for the end of a long-standing school-busing plan.

We wish the children of Baltimore and Prince Georges County only the best. Whoever is at fault for the state of their school systems, it isn't them, and they deserve the chance to succeed as much as anyone.

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What gripes us, and what ought to irritate taxpayers across the state, is that even though Baltimore is getting dollars from across the state, officials there are griping about the loss of local control. But if local control had produced an adequate system, then there wouldn't be a need for outside money, would there? To take someone else's money and then complain about their interest in what you're doing with it seems more than a little bit arrogant.

In Prince Georges County, schools are strapped for cash because the citizens have enacted a tax cap that they refuse to remove. After Baltimore won its settlement, P.G. officials concerned over their schools began wondering aloud if there was more gold at the end of the same rainbow, and whether they might not have to file their own lawsuit.

Just because P.G. County citizens refuse to adequately fund their own schools does not mean the rest of the state should do it for them, especially considering the fact that median income is higher there than it is in Western Maryland. If the rural areas don't unite to foil this election-year money grab, they deserve the legislative mugging that awaits them.

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