General Assembly Approves Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, Including Disparity Grant Enhancement

After several years of budgets with spending reductions and tax increases, the House and Senate approved a $36.9 billion Fiscal Year 2014 budget which contained neither.  As reported by

The budget, HB 100,  raises overall spending 3% and is $500 million less than Gov. Martin O’Malley originally proposed, largely by setting aside funds in case federal budget cuts impact state revenues.

There was none of the contention that led to an impasse last year and eventually a special session to resolve the budget in May. The major difference between the House and Senate budgeters was $100 million senators cut in pension contribution.

The approved budget continues to close the structural deficit and constrains spending.  The budget also increases fund balances and sets aside $100 million to address possible reductions due to federal sequestration. All budget actions are summarized in the Conference Committee Report.

The Fiscal 2014 budget also includes funding for enhancements to the Disparity Grant Program. Under the modified program, eligible counties will continue to receive the amount of funding provided in Fiscal Year 2010, but a minimum grant has been added to the program based on local tax effort. The local income tax rate to be eligible to receive a grant is also being increased from 2.4% to 2.6%.

See county funding breakdown

See prior Conduit Street coverage of the Senate action on disparity grants.

See DLS analysis and recommendations on disparity grant issues.