Comptroller Franchot’s Statement on Board of Revenue Estimates September Revisions

ANNAPOLIS, Md.  – The Board of Revenue Estimates voted today to write up the revenue projections for the State of Maryland for Fiscal Year 2019 by $325 million, representing a 4.1 percent increase over prior estimates. The Board also unveiled the first official estimates for fiscal year 2020, which is projected to be $18.7 billion, representing a 3.3 percent increase over fiscal year 2019 and a $407 million increase over the prior planning numbers.

The actions are primarily influenced by changes in federal tax law – specifically the federal tax cuts enacted by Congress, and the Supreme Court ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair – as well as positive developments in the state’s economy, such as low unemployment and wage growth.

Following are Comptroller Franchot’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“This action comes just weeks after we closed the books on Fiscal Year 2018 with $503 million above our original projections. Much of this good news is attributable to changes in federal tax law – specifically the federal tax cuts enacted by Congress, and the Supreme Court ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair – as well as positive developments in our state’s economy, such as low unemployment and wage growth.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to view these numbers as anything other than good news for the health and stability of our state’s economy. Veteran attendees of these Board meetings can attest to the fact that we have never voted on a revenue write-up of this magnitude during my tenure. And today’s projected revenue increases should provide increased optimism for Maryland taxpayers and small businesses that we’re heading in the right direction.

But despite today’s great news, we cannot and must not take our eye off the ball by departing from the fiscally-prudent policies that allowed us to weather through several years of economic volatility.

I think back to my very first BRE meeting that I attended, shortly after I became comptroller-elect in December 2006 … when the economy was doing very well and our nation was experiencing a massive housing boom. This was the environment in which I was elected.

Two years later, when the housing market crashed and the stability of the global economy was far from certain I presided over this Board when we decreased our revenue projections by more than $1 billion.

So, I’ve seen the highs and the lows, if you will, and I can tell you that while we have much to celebrate with today’s revenue projections, it is also incumbent upon us to refrain from fiscal decisions that will compromise the significant progress we have made.

We must continue to hold the line on new and higher taxes … we must continue to hold the line on soaring debt … and we must continue to hold the line on wasteful and unsustainable spending.

If we want to continue the positive trends that our state is currently experiencing, our state’s fiscal and economic policymakers must not veer from footpaths that we have followed in recent years. We must continue to embrace policies that ensure our fiscal stability and security, regardless of what the nation’s economic future may have in store.”

View the data here.

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