Counties: Hold Off On BPW Cuts, Until Things Are Clearer

A letter from multiple county leaders, including MACo President Sharon Green Middleton, calls for the state Board of Public Works to defer action on a number of budget cuts affecting counties – as the weeks ahead are likely to reveal more clarity on the state and county fiscal plight.

With word that the Board of Public Works plans to consider a broad wave of budget cuts, including a number affecting county services, county leaders have pointed out the inopportune timing for the proposals. While the coronavirus pandemic has upended the local economy and revenue sources, its effects on immediate tax collections and the potential for federal action make July 1 a rapid response that may not match the circumstances emerging in the weeks ahead.

From the letter:

As you prepare for the July 1 meeting, we still see major short-term uncertainties. The July income tax filings are typically a material indicator of non-wage income, among the more difficult elements to forecast, especially in difficult times. And the United States Congress continues to consider and debate various proposals to intercede in the economic disruption – including proposals to directly shield state and local governments from these immediate and abrupt revenue losses. For the State of Maryland to hastily approve budget cuts while these unknowns linger would be premature.

Read the full MACo/County letter online.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties