Legislature’s chief fiscal analyst responds to story on state finances

The April 30 edition of included an article penned by Charlie Hayward which examines State finances from a balance sheet perspective. In his article, Mr. Haywood quite properly indicates weaknesses of Maryland’s balance sheet. Unfortunately, his article tends to both overstate their import and misattribute their origins to the Legislative Branch of government.

Budget mandates

Analysis: Hogan’s budget seeks to avoid deficits, but it must also restore the balance sheet

Maryland’s finances will require many years of budgetary discipline because the state’s balance sheet took a substantial hit due to the recession and its continuing after effects. And in this context, the legislature maintained a nearly rigid spending culture driven by a belief in a cause and effect relationship between marginal spending decisions and their effects on education or social service delivery.

Hogan Busch bill signing

Hogan again criticizes Busch’s handling of budget

Hard feelings from the just-finished legislative session spilled over into the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, as Gov. Larry Hogan used his seat as chairman to call out House Speaker Michael Busch.

“I’m not going to allow the petulant and unprecedented action by the Speaker, ignoring our supplemental budget, to go,” said Hogan, addressing a representative from the Maryland State Police who was testifying on police radios.

Hogan 4-10-2015

At the end, Hogan and lawmakers fighting at the margins

About 98% of the budget approve by the legislature is what Hogan himself submitted Jan. 22.

He and the legislature have been arguing about the other 2%. Now 2% of a $40.5 billion budget is $800 million, so it's not just chump change. Here at the end of the 90-day session, it's only about $200 million that's in dispute, though lawmakers have "fenced off" considerably more on programs such as mass transit so Hogan can't spend it on other things. They are arguing about the margins -- and about holding down spending in years to come.

Unanimous vote budget BRFA

Senate unanimously approves budget, but differs with House

For the first time in nine years, the Maryland Senate unanimously approved the $40.5 billion state budget in its first go-round, applauding their unanimity and congratulating each other for their bipartisan work.

"This year is like no other," said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings, who praised the Democratic leadership of the Senate Budget Committee for giving Republicans a seat at the table.