Comptroller urges policymakers to dedicate ENTIRE fund balance to rescue Maryland’s small businesses
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that the Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund revenues totaled $18.634 billion, an increase of 2.4%, or $435.1 million, over FY 2019, and 0.5%, or $102.2 million, below the Board of Revenues Estimates (BRE) projection from March. The State will close out FY 2020 with an unassigned balance of the State’s General Fund of $585.8 million, or less than 1.2 percent of the total FY 2020 operating budget of $47.27 billion.
“These closeout figures for Fiscal Year 2020 underscore Maryland’s fundamental economic strength. Our state is home to world-class institutions and federal agencies, the most educated workforce in the nation, and some of the finest public universities and colleges,” Franchot said. ” While this higher-than-expected General Fund balance is a positive development, we must not lose sight of the tremendous damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to the financial security and livelihoods of millions of Marylanders and small businesses throughout our state.”
According to Franchot, the final closeout numbers reflect stronger-than-expected revenues from wage growth; however, average wages – the sum of all wages earned – came in less than expected due to COVID-19 related job losses.
“More than 1.1 million Marylanders have filed for unemployment since March, and all segments of our economy have been forced to lay off workers and have seen plummeting revenues. The measures that state and local governments put in place were necessary to safeguard public health and safety, but the economic and fiscal challenges before us require leaders at all levels of government to address these monumental problems,” said Franchot.
Agency staff will continue to monitor economic trends and examine data.
“With a General Fund balance of $585.8 million and a Rainy Day Fund balance of approximately $1.2 billion, I strongly urge the Governor and the General Assembly to allocate the entirety of the $585.8 million General Fund balance for an urgently-needed stimulus and rescue program for Maryland small businesses. These small businesses will simply not survive this economic devastation in the absence of state support – and Maryland would be in danger of losing thousands of jobs, direct and indirect economic benefits, and community investments that they generate,” Franchot said.