Maryland revenue down $250 million from projections

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
The pot of money state lawmakers had hoped to use for tax cuts is half as big as expected.

Maryland's economy isn't doing nearly as well as state officials had hoped.

Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Tuesday afternoon that revenue collection is down $250 million from the estimates used to build the budget last year.

Wages did not rise as much as expected, nor did how much people spent. While employment increased, most of the new jobs were low paying ones, Franchot said.

“These numbers reflect a continued slow and anemic economic recovery in our state with Marylanders struggling to keep pace,” Franchot said in a statement. “While a few more Marylanders have jobs, overall wages continue to fail to keep pace with the cost of living for too many families. The figures underscore a vulnerable and uncertain economy and the need to keep to a sensible fiscal course ahead."

Although the state has less cash on hand than expected, Maryland ended the 2016 fiscal year with nearly $200 million left over. Still, that balance is $100 million lower than what Budget Secretary David Brinkley estimated earlier this month. Then, Brinkley announced his boss, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, was choosing not to spend $80 million set aside by the legislature. 

The $200 million surplus will carry forward into the next fiscal year. Lawmakers and the governor this spring had hoped to use the bigger projected surplus to finance tax cuts, but negotiations collapsed in the final hours of the session without an agreement on what to cut.

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