The Spending Affordability Committee, composed of members of the General Assembly and three public members, met on December 13 to make its fiscal policy recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly for the fiscal 2014 State budget. The Committee typically recommends a target for budget growth based on the current and prospective condition of the state’s economy. However, similar to actions taken over the past two years, the Committee has recommended a reduction in the state’s structural deficit in fiscal 2014 of at least $200 million. As reported by the Washington Post:
The bottom line is that the “structural gap” in Maryland’s $15 billion general fund is now forecast to be only $383 million in the coming fiscal year.
By a 17 to 3 vote, the Spending Affordability Committee agreed Thursday to trim $200 million from that figure when the General Assembly convenes in January for its 90-day session. The remaining gap is small enough to take care of itself in coming years, analysts said, suggesting economic growth and routine budget maneuvers would be sufficient.
This recommendation was approved shortly after the Board of Revenue Estimates announced its revenue projections for fiscal 2013 and 2014. Revenue is expected to increase by $161 million over the two-year fiscal years.
Based on current projections, the State’s general fund structural deficit is expected to drop to under $100 million in fiscal 2018.