A top legislative analyst told Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday that they need to “get real” and “consider other approaches” to deal with state budget shortfalls, including taking a close look at spending.
“We have to look at what is driving our spending upwards,” said Warren G. Deschenaux, executive director of the Department of Legislative Services.
Deschenaux said the state continues to experience “Groundhog Day, minus Bill Murray” every year as it tries to shore up the budget.
But this year is different, he said, because the state is facing a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars that it was unable to anticipate. He blamed it on slow economic growth, which has affected personal and corporate income taxes.
During the spending affordability briefing, which is the kickoff to the legislative budget process, Deschenaux offered lawmakers some options as they move forward.
“Maybe we can do something with a mix of revenue; maybe we need more revenue,” he said. “We still need to tailor what we spend.”
Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Gov. Larry Hogan (R), said the governor looks forward to working with the General Assembly to address spending.
“Maryland will continue to suffer through chronic bouts of deficits until the legislature joins with the Hogan administration to deliver real spending reform,” Chasse said in an email. “Over the past year, our state has experienced solid revenue growth of 3.5 percent, but as reported today by the legislature’s own budget analysts, spending growth continues to outpace revenue growth.”