ANNAPOLIS (Sept. 20, 2017)—The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates voted Wednesday to reduce the state's revenue projections for fiscal year 2018 by $53 million—a 0.3 percent decrease from previous estimates.
The board also estimated revenues for fiscal year 2019 would be $17.6 billion, which is a $73.5 million reduction from prior reports.
This year's reduction is due to weaker-than-anticipated sales tax revenues, resulting from slowing income growth, changing spending habits—including more online purchases—and poor consumer confidence, according to the state comptroller's office.
Some Marylanders are holding off on spending due at least in part to concerns about uncertainty at the federal level, said Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat.
"We continue to experience the slowest and most tentative economic recovery of our lifetimes," said Franchot. "It would be imprudent to expect a return to pre-recessionary patterns of economic expansion."
Earlier this month, Maryland's Board of Public Works approved $61 million in state budget cuts ahead of an expected shortfall.
The state should consider the slow economic growth as the "'new normal,' if you will," Franchot said. "And I would encourage my fellow state leaders to adopt this approach when making spending and fiscal policy decisions in the months ahead."
The board—which includes Franchot, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, a Democrat, and Secretary of Budget and Management David Brinkley, along with Executive Secretary Andrew Schaufele—is responsible for estimating state revenue. They meet three times a year—in September, March, and December—to review the findings and recommendations of the Revenue Monitoring Consensus Group.