The Washington Times - September 4, 2008, 03:46PM

Comptroller Peter Franchot, the state’s chief tax collector and erstwhile fiscal gadfly, plans to tour the state next week calling for spending cuts to the state’s flagging budget.

Maryland, like many other states, is facing a massive budget shortfall … again. The state could come up $1 billion short for the current fiscal year, this without factoring in a “no” vote from Marylanders on slot machines in November.

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Most readers will recall last year’s special session that was designed to close the state’s structural budget deficit, estimated to be a bit more than $1.5 billion at the time. Lawmakers succeeded in closing all but about $300 million of the ongoing problem, but the nation’s economic stagnation has put a serious dent in the state’s revenue collections

So Franchot is planning to call for spending reform next week at a series of events around the state.

From the Franchot press office:

Monday, September 8th:  9:00 a.m.- Comptroller speaks to Committee for Montgomery and unveils new spending reform initiative.  Location: Universities of Maryland at Shady Grove, 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, MD.

Monday, September 8th: 2:00 p.m.- State’s Capital Debt Affordability Committee meets to discuss raising the state’s debt limit.  Will they choose to raise it or choose to be fiscally tough and hold the line?  Location: Assembly Room, Louis Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert Street, Annapolis.

Tuesday, September 9th: 9:00 a.m.- Board of Revenue Estimates and Economic Forum.  The latest revenue estimates will be presented followed by panels of experts representing a cross section of Maryland businesses giving testimony on the state of their industries. Location: Assembly Room, Louis Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert Street, Annapolis.

Tom LoBianco, Maryland political reporter, The Washington Times