Spending Affordability Committee Recommends Cutting Structrual Deficit by a Third

The Spending Affordability Committee, composed of members of the General Assembly and three public members, met on December 21 to make its recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly.   Whereas, the Committee typically recommends a target for budget growth based on the current and prospective condition of the state’s economy, the Committee, as reported by MarylandReporter.com,  took a different approach and instead recommended a target for reducing the state’s structural deficit in FY 2012.

Legislative leaders took a new approach to setting budget targets Tuesday, telling the governor and lawmakers that they wanted to see the persistent $2 billion structural deficit cut by a third next year, meaning a $670 million real reduction in general fund spending.The Spending Affordability Committee, made up of 21 fiscal leaders in the General Assembly, abandoned setting a percentage target for budget growth as they had for the last 28 years — a target sometimes disregarded by governors.

“We’ve been using non-structural solutions to balance the budget,” Warren Deschenaux, the legislature’s fiscal policy chief, told the lawmakers. The state has been using one-time things like transfers of special funds and federal stimulus dollars to balance the books.

“We’ve been doing that and doing that and doing that,” Deschenaux said. “The goal is to do less of that and less of that and less of that.”

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