Md. revenue estimates down $405M

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland officials have revised the state’s revenue estimates downward by about $405 million for fiscal year 2015 and 2016.

The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates made the revision Wednesday.

The state has about $177 million less than expected for the current fiscal year, which began in July. The state’s Board of Public Works cut about $83 million from the budget at the start of the fiscal year, an action helps keep Maryland’s budget in balance even after Thursday’s revision.

The revision reflects lower-than-expected income tax collections.

The estimates mean the state will have about $228 million less to work with than initially projected when the governor submits the next state budget in January, when the state’s general fund will be an estimated $16.4 billion.

Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot said he was not surprised by the news, noting that Maryland may have to “forego many of the things we simply want” in order to balance its books.

“We can classify a year or two outside the ordinary as simply abnormal,” Franchot said. But more than a half decade later, we need to accept that sluggish growth and challenging economic conditions have become our new normal. It feels like we sit at these meetings every quarter, hopeful and determined that ‘next year will be the year’ when the recovery takes hold and is felt broadly throughout the economy.

“Yet, another year has passed, and ordinary families and small businesses haven’t even recovered to where they were before the financial collapse, much less made up for the wages they’ve lost over the past six years. We need to recognize that hope is not an economic strategy.”

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