Maryland Budget Shortfall Grows to $1.2 Billion - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Budget Shortfall Grows to $1.2 Billion

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- A projected two-year budget shortfall in Maryland has grown to nearly $1.2 billion after a revised forecast from a state panel on tax collections and the state's sluggish economic growth.

The Board of Revenue Estimates projected Monday that revenues are falling short of previous projections for this fiscal year and next year. The board said the state will collect $123 million less than previously projected this fiscal year, which ends in June. The board also projected revenue will be another $148 million lower than expected the following year.

The revised projections increase the previous budget gaps of nearly $300 million this year and $600 million next year. Maryland's general fund budget totals about $16 billion.

In a statement, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan said the latest numbers are "no surprise," but he said the growing deficit adds to the challenge he faces when taking office in January.

The deficit "will require difficult budgetary decisions that we must make to ensure that Maryland government lives within its means," Hogan said. "Maryland families and businesses must make difficult financial choices every day, and now our state government must do the same."

Hogan's first budget proposal is due to the state legislature just two days after he takes office.

The latest shortfalls were blamed largely on federal spending cuts. Revenue projections have been lowered for personal income taxes, a reflection of slower job growth.

Some budget cuts could come before Hogan takes office. Comptroller Peter Franchot urged departing Gov. Martin O'Malley to present options in early January to the Board of Public Works, a panel that has the power to make budget cuts when the legislature is not in session.

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