Maryland one of 13 ‘turkey states’ on spending, accounting watchdog says

Turkey-States-1Maryland may have a requirement for a balanced budget, but its audited financial statements show that it spent more than it took in from fiscal 2008 to 2012, according to the Institute for Truth in Accounting.

This made Maryland one of 13 “turkey states” that had more expenses than revenues in fiscal 2012. The list includes all of Maryland’s neighbors except Virginia.

“They circumvent the balanced budget requirements” with accounting gimmicks, said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of the Institute for Truth in Accounting. This watchdog group has long maintained that states do not accurately represent their expenses, revenues, assets and liabilities. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports require all states to follow the same accounting rules.

The institute calculates ‘Net Revenue’ as all income vs. all expenses, commonly reported by businesses but not governments.

The institute reported: “Thirteen states spent more than they collected in 2012: New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, California and Delaware. This means they either had to borrow money to pay bills, or rack up more debt for future taxpayers.”

Maryland Net Revenues by Fiscal Year (State Data Lab)

Maryland Net Revenues by Fiscal Year (State Data Lab)

In fiscal 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, almost all states spent more than they took in, but according to the institute’s calculations that has happened every year in Maryland since 2008, as shown in the chart to the right.

The chart was generated from the Institute’s State Data Lab, which allows anyone to create their own charts and graphs for over 150 different sets of data. It also allows you to compare this data by states.

Five of the states in the red, including Massachusetts, Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, actually had positive net revenue in 2011, the institute  said (See Chart Here). 

–Len Lazarick



About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. md observer

    Accounting loopholes are inherent to the State’s working “capital.” It’s all explained in the footnotes.

  2. Don Smith

    Owemalley the grinning, socialist, taxing Leprechaun governor should be tarred and feathered then run out of Annapolis on a rail. Now that the nation sees how you’ve ruined Maryland and run it into the ground due to all your unchecked taxes and trampling on the Second Amendment that you swore to protect and defend. How’s that 1% in the Presidential Poll working out for you, you traitor?

  3. reader

    In the liars State of Maryland, run by the deplorable Dems, finding out that we actually run a deficit is no surprised. What you get when one party runs the State, led by MOM, the worst of the lot.