ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan highlighted preliminary budget recommendations Thursday for the incoming administration of Gov.-elect Wes Moore at a time when the state has a big budget surplus.
Largely due to enormous federal aid during the pandemic, Maryland has an estimated $2.5 billion budget surplus heading toward the next fiscal year. The state also is set to have an unusually large amount in its Rainy Day Fund: roughly $3 billion, or about 12% of the state’s general fund.
Hogan, who prioritized fiscal responsibility throughout his tenure, urged the incoming administration and lawmakers to maintain a sizable surplus. The term-limited Republican also urged lawmakers in the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, to leave the big pot of reserves in the Rainy Day Fund intact, even as the legislature is acquiring new budget powers in the upcoming legislative session.
Meanwhile, a panel of lawmakers that makes fiscal recommendations acknowledged the need for the state to bolster available resources due to the potential for an economic downturn. The Spending Affordability Committee voted to recommend the state keep a minimum fund balance of $350 million for the next fiscal year, the largest the panel has recommended in years. It also recommended maintaining a rainy day fund balance of 10% of general fund revenues, an unusually high amount.
Hogan’s budget team has been working with the incoming administration on the budget for the next fiscal year. Moore, a Democrat, will submit the budget plan to the General Assembly on Jan. 20, two days after he takes office.
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