Estimated $1 Billion Budget Gap for FY 2013

Analysts from the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) informed members of the Spending Affordability Committee, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and the House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees, that the State is facing an estimated $1 billion shortfall for fiscal year 2013.  The briefing document can be found on the General Assembly’s website.  The biggest drivers of the shortfall again this year, are increasing medical assistance costs  and funding for education programs. As reported by the Washington Examiner:

“Economic growth, where we find it, is pretty weak. Revenue growth is slower than expected, and expenses could more than consume the growth that we are experiencing,” Warren Deschenaux, director of the Department of Legislative Services’ Office of Policy Analysis, told a joint hearing of four Senate and House of Delegates committees.

The revenue coming in is not enough to cover the state’s spending commitments, he said.

Revenue through September is up by about 4.6 percent, but is expected to grow by only 2.8 percent in fiscal 2013, according to data from the Board of Revenue Estimates, which accounts for the $1.012 billion shortfall.

The Spending Affordability Committee studies and reviews the status and projections of State revenues and expenditures and makes a recommendation each year on the rate of growth of State spending.  These recommendations are made to ensure that the rate of growth in spending does not exceed the rate of growth of the State’s economy. Whereas, the Committee typically recommends a target for budget growth, the Committee took a different approach last year and recommended a target for reducing the state’s structural deficit in FY 2012 by a third.  Coverage of last year’s Spending Affordability discussions can be found on the MACo blog.
The Committee is scheduled to hold two more meetings, one on November 17 at 3 pm and one on December 15 at 6 pm, in the Appropriations Hearing Room.  The Committee will make decisions during the December meeting.

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