Maryland’s Board of Revenue Estimates on Thursday approved a $130 million increase to its 2020 fiscal projection, even as board members said the uptick did not necessarily mean the public should be bullish about the state’s economy.
Earlier this year, the board estimated revenue of $18.57 billion. The revised figure projects growth of 2.7% for a total of $18.7 billion.
The panel, composed of Comptroller Peter Franchot, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Budget Secretary David Brinkley, also voted to set the first projections for fiscal year 2021 at $19.06 billion ― a prediction that state revenues will grow 1.9%.
“This write-up should not be taken as a stronger performance to come, as much of the increase is attributable to events that have already taken place, including a strong tax year in 2018,” Franchot said.
While the state saw stronger-than-expected revenue from capital gains and sales taxes, wage growth continues to lag in the state, Franchot noted.
Franchot also noted the state was facing “more significant economic trends at the national level," including a “ballooning federal deficit” and “reckless and erratic trade policy from Washington.”
“It is impossible to deny that our economy is approaching a very tenuous inflection point, one that we would be foolish to ignore or not prepare for,” he said.
Franchot and Kopp are Democrats; Brinkley represents the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican.
The comptroller also released a report Thursday from the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University that found starting school after Labor Day has a “clear, positive impact on both state and local economies” with a net economic impact of up to $115 million.
Franchot has long been an advocate for starting school after Labor Day. The General Assembly this year allowed local school systems to decide for themselves when to start the academic year.