State Budget $300M Ahead For FY 2011

According to recent reports, the Maryland State Budget will close out FY 2011 (the period ending a few weeks ago on June 30, 2010) with a surplus of some $300 million. The overage is due primarily to revenues exceeding expected levels, even while the Maryland and national economy remains fairly sluggish. From the Baltimore Business Journal’s coverage:

State officials expect to find a $300 million surplus when they close the state’s fiscal 2010 budget later this month.

The gain is the result of higher-than-expected tax revenue in the final months of the fiscal year, which ended June 30. The state based its spending during that period on estimates calculated in March, cutting costs to meet those levels. Cuts included furloughs and layoffs for some state employees as well as trims to state agencies’ budgets.

But the revenue expectations were exceeded, said Shaun Adamec, spokesman for Gov. Martin O’Malley. The state had been expecting $12.2 billion in tax revenue but may end up with as much as $12.5 billion.

The surplus could become a campaign talking point, as both O’Malley and challenger former Gov. Robert Ehrlich have criticized the other candidate for his spending and tax policies.

It’s not clear yet which state taxes contributed to the revenue growth. Joseph Shapiro, spokesman for Comptroller Peter Franchot, confirmed there is an expected surplus “in the ballpark” of $300 million. But more detailed budget numbers won’t be available until state accountants close the books on fiscal 2010 in the next two weeks, Shapiro said.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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