- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) - Maryland revenues ended up being about $200 million above projections for the last fiscal year, a top state budget analyst said Friday.

Warren Deschenaux, the Legislature’s chief budget analyst, gave an update on the state budget at the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference. The state’s revenue boost for fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, largely came from income taxes on capital gains, he said. While that’s good news for the state budget, Deschenaux pointed out that state revenues from capital gains are hard to estimate. That means the state can’t count on seeing that kind of extra bump with regularity.

“We won the lottery, but I don’t think we can count on winning the lottery every year and particularly next year,” Deschenaux said.

The revenue means the state will have an estimated $146 million to carry over into next year’s budget process. The amount includes $68 million that Gov. Larry Hogan decided not to spend to fully fund a formula that steers more money to parts of the state where education costs more and $15 million the governor did not set aside for the Prince George’s Hospital Center. It also takes into account about $150 million in estimated budget deficiencies.

Michael Sanderson, the executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties, said the budget overview illustrates that Maryland is not facing shortfalls of the magnitude it did during the recession and its aftermath.

“In all likelihood, we’re coming out of a spot of year-to-year, patch-over urgency and the next few years could sort of define what’s the next path for the state,” Sanderson said.

He also said the association of local officials will be supporting a reversal of the “starvation diet” local governments have endured in local transportation funding from the state since 2009.

“This is a statewide issue, and this is the year to find out: are we going to see a first installment of a restoration happen or does the window basically close, so our organization is going to be committed to the former, but that’s a giant structure-of-government question that sits before the Legislature, the governor and every stakeholder on transportation issues,” Sanderson said.

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