But State Comptroller urges caution.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Revenue projections look good so far for the State of Maryland. But there is a word of caution from Comptroller Peter Franchot.
The Board of Revenue Estimates says projections for the end of fiscal year 2021 show the state taking in $18.7-billion, which is $1.4-billion increase from projections made by the Board during a special May forecast, when the state was in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Turns out that the federal government’s relief grant plan was so successful and so generous that it filled the hole,” says Franchot.
He’s referring to the Paycheck Protection Plan, which helped businesses keep their employees on staff rather than laying them off during the pandemic; and the additional $600 per week in unemployment compensation provided to those who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus.
But these programs have come to an end, and that could mean difficult times ahead. “Without another stimulus plan from the federal government, we’re going to be right back in the hole, and we’re going to suffering significant tax revenue losses in the fiscal year we’re in, and the fiscal year which starts next year.”
Fiscal year 2021 ends on June 30th, 2021. Fiscal year 2022 starts on July 1st, 2021.
Franchot is also urging Governor Larry Hogan to use the $585-million fund balance from fiscal year 2020 to rescue small businesses which are having difficulty staying open due to the pandemic. He also urges the General Assembly to be cautious when it convenes in January, and starts working on the fiscal year 2022 budget.
“If there’s no federal stimulus and if the virus returns in the winter, as some scientists are predicting, we’re going to have problems,” says Franchot.
By Kevin McManus