The Aegis Opinion

Follow the money in Annapolis | COMMENTARY

Maryland has a new administration, a new legislature, new constitutional officers and new department heads. These individuals collectively determine the political, social, economic and educational trajectory of our state for years to come.

The House Appropriations Committee determines how executive and legislative policies are implemented. The appropriations committee also determines the policy for pensions, state personnel and higher education. Appropriations also controls where general funds are spent and how we spend the capital budget.


There is an old adage: If you want to know what is valued by the government, businesses and families, follow the money that funds their distinct priorities.

Transferring from the House Judiciary Committee to appropriations, I am now an active participant in the review and analysis of Maryland’s coffers. With my fellow committee members, I will be monitoring, crafting, approving or disapproving those priorities. I serve as your representative on the Pension and Public Safety subcommittees.


Unlike the federal government, Maryland’s budget must be balanced when it is submitted and passed by the General Assembly. There is NO deficit spending or printing money.

Maryland’s fiscal budget year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the succeeding year. Prior to 1916, the legislature controlled the budget process. Due to corruption, bankrupt fiscal policies and bad management, Maryland adopted an executive budget process.

In 2022, the legislature expanded the opportunities available to increase appropriations made by the Governor and to add items to his agencies, with some restrictions. In order to add to his budget, the General Assembly cannot exceed the total amount in the governor’s budget.

If the governor does not accept the actions the legislature takes to revise his budget, he can use the line-item veto. If this occurs, the legislature has 30 days to override his veto. If there is no veto override, the item is removed from the executive budget.

For Fiscal Year 2023, the total budget is $63 billion. The General Fund is comprised of revenues collected by the state that are not designated for a special purpose. The majority of revenues are from personal income taxes, retail sales taxes and corporate taxes collected, translating to 46% of the state’s revenue.

The second largest revenue source comes from the federal government in block grants, pass-through entitlements and federal mandates totaling 30%. Much of federal government funding might have serious strings attached.

Special funds designated for limited purposes are the third largest source derived from automobile and boat registration fees, child support applications, state property taxes, motor fuel and vehicle taxes and property transfer taxes. These funds make up 16%.

Some of these funds are directed to higher education, restricted and unrestricted, as required by donors or foundations for specific expenditures and programs. Unrestricted funds come from tuition and fees, sales and services from auxiliary enterprise operations and federal fund indirect recoveries. These sources make up 8%.


In FY 2023, the revenues spent by percentage are as follows: 39% for state agencies, 27% for entitlements, 17% for state aid, 9% for Paygo (pay-as-you-go) and 8% for state reserves. Entitlement programs provide funds for specific benefits such as assessment and tax credit programs, the health department’s Medicaid program and human services programs for cash assistance and foster care.

Harford County’s slice of the pie

All politics is local. What does Harford County get out of the capital budget? Harford County receives $33,988,000 directed to the following 10 projects:

  • $4,000,000 for the new District Court;
  • $3,593,000 for the Bel Air Library renovations;
  • $5,915,000 for the Harford Community College Chesapeake Welcome Center renovation and addition;
  • $802,000 for Aberdeen Middle School;
  • $6,698,000 for Harford Technical High School;
  • $10,000,000 for the new Havre de Grace SCMS Surface Equipment and Automotive Maintenance Facility;
  • $1,230,000 for Havre de Grace Elementary School;
  • $1,000,000 for Susquehanna State Park - trail bridge replacement;
  • $600,000 for Camp Moshava Wastewater System;
  • $150,000 for Havre de Grace - new pickleball courts.

I realize this is a dry article with limited words discussing complex fiscal analyses, departmental briefings, legislative service examinations and comments, and machine gun oral testimony from citizens and advocates on intricate and technical matters. Indeed, this barely scratches the surface of the Maryland budget process. Just remember Maryland has a coveted AAA bond rating.

Application period open for district scholarships

Absolutely, under no circumstances, do not forget the District 34B Legislative Scholarships available for graduating seniors, current college students, graduate students or those attending trade and apprenticeship programs. Please email my office at or call (410) 841-3272 for applications and instructions. The deadline is April 1.

Del. Susan K. McComas is a Republican representing District 34B in Harford County. She can be reached at (410) 841-3272.