Maryland's Board of Revenue Estimates downgraded revenue projections for fiscal 2017 on Wednesday, citing lower-than-expected sales tax collections.
Officials wrote down estimates for sales tax income by nearly $61 million for fiscal 2017. They also predicted the state would take in $66 million less in sales tax this fiscal year.
Comptroller Peter Franchot said the numbers reflect weak holiday sales and consumer uncertainty during what he called "the slowest, most tepid economic recovery in our lifetime."
"The mere fact that we're still using the term 'recovery' seven years later demonstrates how extraordinary these challenges that remain are," he said.
Modest wage growth and anxiety over the stock market "weighs heavily on consumer outlooks," said Board Executive Secretary Andrew Schaufele.
Budget Secretary David Brinkley said the projections validate Gov. Larry Hogan's fiscal policies. On Tuesday, he called on the legislature to support his push to roll back spending mandates.
"Overall, this forecast reflects a slowly recovering state economy," he said. "While we are optimistic about the state's opportunities and possibilities, and proud of progress we've made … Maryland still needs to exercise caution so that in the event of a slowdown or recession, the state will still have the resources it needs."
Despite gloomy sales numbers, Treasurer Nancy Kopp said the state is still "in sound shape and moving up."
Estimates for fiscal 2016 were revised up by $9.2 million overall, thanks to surpluses in corporate income tax, state lottery and estate and inheritance tax revenues. The state also has an $832 million rainy day fund.
Franchot lauded Hogan and leaders in the legislature for the tax relief measures they've proposed this session, though he emphasized that relief should be "modest."
"I think that is validated by the uncertainty and the volatility in the economy right now," he said.