Maryland’s tax revenue amounted to 1.5 percent below estimates for fiscal 2016, reflecting sustained weakness in wage growth and taxable spending and lower collections from tax returns, according to Comptroller Peter Franchot’s final closeout numbers. The State’s general fund received $16.2 billion from taxes, $250 million less than anticipated. The unassigned general fund balance is $196.5 million. Reported the Comptroller,
These numbers reflect a continued slow and anemic economic recovery in our state with Marylanders struggling to keep pace. While a few more Marylanders have jobs, overall wages continue to fail to keep pace with the cost of living for too many families. The figures underscore a vulnerable and uncertain economy and the need to keep to a sensible fiscal course ahead. Consumers and small businesses need predictability as we move forward. I believe that any fund balance must be saved and not spent.
While employment rose 1.8 percent, many of the new jobs created pay below-average wages when compared to the statewide average, indicates the Comptroller’s office- resulting in depressed wage growth and general economic uncertainty, reducing taxable spending. Online shopping, increased casino gambling and the aging Baby Boomer population also may have contributed to reduced taxable retail expenditures.