Comptroller Issues Statement on Veto of HB 1052

Franchot available for media interviews on costly, reckless, disruptive legislation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 27, 2019) - Comptroller Peter Franchot today issued the following statement in response to Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of House Bill 1052, which would create a new commission, led by political appointees and at great expense to Maryland taxpayers, to replace the nationally-renowned Field Enforcement Division that has been housed in the Office of the Comptroller for decades.

Comptroller Franchot is available for additional comment. Interested media should contact Communications Director Susan O’Brien at 443-875-8540 or Press Secretary Alan Brody at 443-924-1473 to arrange an interview.

Following is the Comptroller’s statement:

“I commend Governor Hogan for vetoing this unnecessary, reckless and tremendously expensive bill that would put the regulation of alcohol and tobacco in the control of a politically-appointed board that is unaccountable to Marylanders.

“In light of the outrageous improprieties of several University of Maryland Medical System board members, it’s especially brazen and irresponsible for leaders of the General Assembly to use the legislative process to carry out political vendettas that lessens oversight and enables special interests to handpick their regulator. Now more than ever, legislative leaders need to take steps to restore faith and trust in our government, and this bill flies directly in the face of efforts to make government more transparent.

“This bill achieves no public good and serves only to punish me for my unwavering efforts to support Maryland craft breweries. It recklessly disrupts the outstanding public service long provided by the men and women of our Field Enforcement Division, who have been universally praised for their hard work and dedication. The uncertainty of this new commission’s function creates a climate ripe for potential malfeasance. If the veto is overridden, nearly $50 million of taxpayer money will be spent on the upheaval of dozens of state employees who are unfairly being used as political pawns.

“This veto must be sustained. Members of the Senate and House of Delegates should use this opportunity to focus on making government more accountable, not less, to the citizens we serve. Not only is this bill’s price tag too steep, but the cost of further eroding the public’s trust is too high a price to pay.”

MEDIA CONTACT:  Alan Brody -  abrody@comp.state.md.us
410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)