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Maryland In The Black -- For The Moment

With a budget shortfall of nearly $1.5 billion looming next year, this probably doesn't qualify as great news, but Maryland officials welcomed it yesterday nonetheless: The state finished last year $193 million in the black.

According to a letter from Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and others, revenue collections in fiscal year 2007, which ended June 30, exceed projections by $75 million -- about 0.6 percent higher than anticipated. The state also benefited from unspent money by state agencies and higher-than-expected reimbursements for a heritage tax credit.

What this means for the state's long-term outlook is unclear. Individual income tax collections grew somewhat more than expected in 2007, but sales tax collections were sluggish and corporate income tax collections actually declined compared to fiscal 2006.

The numbers will be analyzed further, officials said, and used in Sepember to project revenue collections for the fiscal 2009 budget, in which the major shortfall looms.

By John Wagner  |  August 30, 2007; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Comments

So if they cut new spending from 8.5% growth to 3.5% growth and saved $700 million more than we'd have a total deficit of what, less than $300 million? You figure $1.5 billion number is wrong anyway--it includes GCEI which no governor funds. And Rein, think you advertise those political beliefs (namely peace) on your bumper enough?

Posted by: Ralph | August 30, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post editors, Governor and Montgomery County Executive are trying to drive the middle class out of Maryland by raising sales, income, corporate, gasoline and property taxes. Don't let them do it.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 30, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's keep this quiet.

This doesn't fit well with the O'Malley's rhetoric about the fiscal "mess" from the Ehrlich days or the $1.5B shortfall that the he and the Post are trying to sell everyone.

Personally, I'm skeptical that a shortfall even exists. It's just a convenient excuse for doing what O'Malley and the GA want to do - tax and spend more on Government services that are run inefficeintly in the first place. The last thing these poorly run agencies need is more money thrown at them.

The $193M in the black is only more proof that you should question the whole "shortfall" BS message.

Posted by: BG from PG | August 30, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting turn...we all know how to respond to bad news, but good news (even mildly good) seems to catch us off balance. I'm fiscally conservative, but I'm not afraid of taxes when there are bills to be paid or urgent needs to be addressed. My guess is that the shortfall is always more than government reports, because its politicians doing the reporting. So, while things appear not as bad as we were originally told...I'm apt to favor fully funding all current iniatives and starting no new ones until a surplus can be realized. Perhaps this change in balance can be explained by pressure from folks to cancel large politically-connected projects like the $3 billion ICC? Those things are a tough sell when your running a deficit and tax increases might be needed. My hope is that O'Malley's recent attention on the budget has had a positive affect. Let's all keep our eyes on our balance sheet...can only keep us on-course fiscally.

Posted by: Donny | August 31, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Not to fear, the Demonrats will quickly cancel out any additional revenues from an improving economy by strangling it in its crib with higher taxes.

How many times does the reality of lowered taxes leading to increased revenues have to be proved before these chowderheads get it?

Posted by: Rufus | August 31, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Improving economy? I wish!

Good one, Rufus.

TGIF

Posted by: Donny | August 31, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Organized Governments at all levels have been holding back their true Financial Statements, their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from the people of America for over 50 years! Every city, county, state, and the federal government openly talks about the "budget" but keeps a virtually hidden, SECOND SET OF BOOKS which track the investments and Enterprise ventures worth TRILLIONS of dollars in tangible wealth they have built up and are spending from these virtually hidden portfolios as a result of investing YOUR skimmed money for over 50 years in everything from real estate to the stock market.

When looking at the "big picture," only 1/3 of government's annual revenue comes from taxes, 2/3 comes from return on investments and enterprise / venture projects. To offset taxation, not $1 of that non-tax revenue is tied directly into the annual "budget" that is supported by taxation!

Your city, county, state, and federal governments have played the Enron Creative Accounting Game; they LIED TO YOU for decades. With administrative restructuring of government, there would be NO NEED FOR TAXES. Our governments are not broke, they are rich beyond measure with OUR money, and they are hiding it from the American taxpayer, investing, AND SPENDING IT while pleading they are broke and need more taxes, bonds and levies to survive. This being done as they blindly justify their obscene growth. BS! There is enough aggregate wealth owned by our government agencies to abolish ALL property and income taxes TODAY. You are being conned, lied to, ripped off, and financially raped.

Posted by: joe | September 5, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Maryland Has At Least $6.68 Billion In Surpluses of the Taxpayers Money it is not using.

Posted by: joe | September 5, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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