Legislative Services’ “Fiscal Briefing” document paints broad picture

The Department of Legislative Services, the policy staff agency to the General Assembly, each year publishes and presents a Fiscal Briefing to encapsulate major issues with the operating and capital budgets, and other issues of fiscal importance to the State and counties.

The first presentation of the Fiscal Briefing was to the assembled fiscal committees of the legislature yesterday afternoon. See Baltimore Sun coverage.

Warren Deschenaux from DLS will be on the agenda for MACo’s legislative committee tomorrow to review these issues with county leaders, and will likely highlight effects on “aid to local governments” and other budget components of interest to local governments.

One of the most revealing illustrations in the weighty document is a page detailing changes in “aid to local governments” in recent years. That page (page 36 of the DLS document) shows how, dating from to FY 2007 until now, primary and secondary education has been the target of meaningful increased support, while county and municipal governments have been on a steep decline. Funding to county and municipal governments dropped from $957 million in FY 2007 to $377 million in FY 2010, and is projected for another decline to $357 million in FY 2011 — a remarkable 62.5% drop over the latest five year period.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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