Dear Friends, Neighbors and Constituents,
We are reaching the conclusion of the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session. As a member of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, I am pleased to provide you with information on how your state Capital and Operating Budgets were finalized. You can review and read the budget reports and analysis on the Maryland General Assembly website, click here and scroll down to the various budget reports.
This year we avoided catastrophic COVID related revenue losses and received a significant amount of COVID federal government relief funding. The final budget included an additional $5.8 billion in federal funds compared to the budget as introduced in January. The total operating growth in State spending is 4.0% with expansions for core State services and priorities including public education, Medicaid, State employee compensation, local health departments, schools, workforce training and apprenticeships, public transportation and roads, unemployment services, parks and natural resources, the expansion of broadband access and expanding safety nets for our most needy.
The projected fund balance at the close of 2022 is $696 million with a $1.355 billion in the Rainy Day Fund Balance leaving almost $2.1 billion in cash reserves. We clearly are well positioned for any potential future revenue uncertainty.
The Capital Budget, with the influx of federal stimulus funding, authorizes the creation of State Debt in amount of $1,006,370,620 for building construction, demolition, planning, renovation, capital equipment and other grants and spending that will help create jobs and allow needed infrastructure improvements to our schools, roads, parks and state buildings. The decisions to use significant federal money for capital projects ensures we do not overly rely on federal stimulus funds in our operating budget and avoid the need for future cuts to operational spending that is dependent on federal money. As always, all budget negotiations and final decisions are intended to help ensure we maintain our Triple AAA bond rating.
Specific local bond funding continues and this year and I joined forces with Senator Douglas J.J. Peters, Chair Senate Capital Budget Sub Committee, to secure funds to renovate two local buildings which will expand their use by the community: the Bowie Lions Club building and a total renovation of the Maenner House and its annex, which will help improve the community golf course.
Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns and in the coming days I will provide you with a more detailed End of Session letter highlighting the 2021 Maryland General Assembly accomplishments, as well as a review of my legislative priorities this year.
The below budget highlights reflect budget priorities to help all Marylanders:
- Responds to the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency
- $572 million for COVID testing, vaccinations and contact tracing.
The Relief Act (federal stimulus dollars) allocated $687 million of state spending for pandemic support and $585 million in targeted tax relief for FY 2021 and FY 2022.
- Restores Funds for Previous Legislative Priorities
- The Budget restores $616 million of reductions proposed by the Governor, including:
- a restoration of $422 million for the Rainy Day Fund;
- $29.8 for independent colleges and universities;
- $26.6 million for community colleges;
- $50 million for unfunded pension and retiree health liabilities.
- Funds were also restored for:
- Maryland Public Television
- The Office of the Attorney General
- And the State Department of Assessment and Taxation to prevent increase in charges to local governments.
- Park Maintenance and Lake Restoration
- As a result of the dramatic increase in use of outdoor space during the pandemic $23 million was allocated for maintenance projects in state parks,
- $2.2 million for dredging at Deep Creek Lake,
- $1 million for restoration of state-owned lakes.
- Maintains the State’s Commitment to Blueprint Funding and Public Schools
Support for public schools will exceed $7.5 billion as funding the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future will have long term and sustained impact on the state’s public schools.
- Direct aid to local school systems will increase by $229.4 million or 3.5%.
- Invests in Broadband Access and Apprenticeships
- $300 million in federal stimulus will expand access to broadband access for low income households.
- $75 million is allocated for workforce training and apprenticeships.
- Community College Aid
- $371. 5 million for community colleges, a 9% increase over FY 2021.
- Dedicates one time cast to Capital Priorities and Public School HVAC systems
- $512 million to pay as you go projects, and
- $80 million of federal stimulus funds to public schools heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.
- Provides Vital Health Care Services
- Medicaid funding totals $13.5 billion which will allow coverage to 1.5 million residents.
- Expenditures will increase by $673 million to cover unprecedented new enrollment of 151,000 persons due to the COVID pandemic as well as provider rate increases.
- Enhances Services to Vulnerable Populations
- Temporary Cash Assistance Recipients and Temporary Disability Assistance Recipients will get an extra $100 per month for FY 2021.
- A 4% rate increase will go to health care providers.
- Rate increases of up to 4% are also authorized for group homes serving youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system.
- Achieves Structural Balance
- Ongoing general fund revenues exceed ongoing expenditures by $79 million dollars. A structural surplus of $121 million is forecasted by FY (fiscal year) 2026.
- Preserves Reserves
- $2.1 billion in cash resources are preserved including $1.4 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and $696 million in the General Fund well exceeding the goals of the Spending Affordability Committee goals.
- Resolves Projected Fiscal 2023 and Fiscal 2024 Budget Shortfalls
- The cash balance at the end of FY 2022 will erase the projected FY 2023 shortfall and a General Fund surplus if projected through FY 2024.
- Allocates Extra funds to Pension System
- The actuarially required contribution is now exceeded by $75 million in FY 2021 and $100 Million in FY 2022, accelerating progress towards adequate funding.
- Employee Compensation
- $1000 bonus for all state employees in FY 2021
- $100 million for Level 1 and Level 2 response pay for essential workers.
Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A