State Closes with $2B Surplus, School Construction to Get Boost

Maryland again closed the Fiscal Year with a revenue surplus — this time of $2 billion — which will in-part boost State funding of school construction and capital projects.

At the September 14 meeting of the Board of Public Works (BPW), Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that Maryland has closed its books on Fiscal Year 2022 with a revenue surplus of $2 billion in its General Fund, marking the second year in a row that the State’s coffers have seen a massive boost in the year-end report.

A press release from the Comptroller’s Office noted that the State’s revenue growth was “largely driven by an increase in personal income tax receipts among the wealthiest taxpayers and the sustained impact of federal stimulus aid coursing through the state’s economy.” Specifically, personal income tax revenues rose 15.7% and sales tax revenue by 19.6%. Additionally, corporate income tax revenue increased 16.3%. Those increases came over the prior fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, which the Baltimore Sun notes was early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Planning for the future — including school construction

Officially, the State closed Fiscal Year 2022 with a balance of $5.5 billion in the General Fund, of which the General Assembly allocated $3.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2023 operations. As mandated by state law, $870 million of the $2 billion fund balance was transferred to the Rainy Day Fund and the Fiscal Responsibility Fund, leaving a final balance of $1.121 billion in unassigned revenues.

This is the first year that part of the unassigned balance is automatically transferred to the State’s reserve accounts:

About $500 million will be redirected to the Rainy Day Fund, boosting its balance to $1.66 billion, while $370 million will go to the Fiscal Responsibility Fund, which supports capital investments in K-12 public schools, community colleges and public higher education institutions, as well as pay increases for eligible state government employees represented by collective bargaining units.

Notably, due to ongoing fiscal uncertainty following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Comptroller urged policymakers to deposit the full unassigned balance of $1.121 billion into the Rainy Day Fund to better prepare for an economic disaster. The next gubernatorial administration will be able to make that decision.

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