Md. Governor Larry Hogan announces Fiscal Year 2023 budget

MARYLAND – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan laid out a financial roadmap Wednesday morning, with the announcement of his fiscal year 2023 budget. “The state of Maryland is projecting a long-term, structurally balanced budget for the first time in nearly a quarter century,” he said.

Marylanders can expect tax relief

Gov. Hogan promised $4.6 billion in tax relief. Taxes on retiree income will be phased out over six years. About 70,000 of Maryland’s lower income seniors will be removed from the tax rolls immediately. “This is not just good for our economy. It’s also good for our quality of life. Our seniors deserve to have piece of mind to know that they can afford to stay right here in Maryland,” said Gov. Hogan.

Delegate Carl Anderton says that could mean a more financially stable future for Marylanders. “That leaves the possibility for more money in folks’ pockets. That’s the most important thing right now, is to make sure folks have as much money available to them to make it through the increase of inflation you see at the stores, fuel costs, and electricity,” he said.

Also contained in the budget, was $2.4 billion for the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Gov. Hogan says the increased reserve fund will hopefully prepare the state for future crises, and get the ball rolling faster on current projects.

Record education spending

The governor also made some major promises for education. The budget also includes a record $8.15 billion for K-12 education. $1 billion is dedicated solely to school construction. “That’s $300M above the total of all the annual funding requests from every single jurisdiction, which allow us to accelerate our historic initiative to bring every single school in the state into the 21st century,” said Gov. Hogan.

$601 million will be allocated towards higher education. Del. Anderton says he’s excited to see improvements on schools on the Lower Eastern Shore, from elementary schools, to universities. “To receive funding for the new Mardela Middle and High School is awesome. We’re going to have construction at all three colleges simultaneously, with the funding passed for the design and renovation of Blackwell Library. So, that’s Salisbury University, WorWic, UMES,” he said.

Another local impact Del. Anderton is excited about is funding for building out financial literacy education. “The Junior Achievement finance part, there’s $1 million in the budget to construct that at the old KMart on Route 50 East, heading out of Salisbury,” he said. “That’s a really big deal, especially for our kids with financial literacy being of the utmost importance, I think, in securing a better financial future.”

Public infrastructure, safety, and health

The budget allows $1.4 billion for roads and highways, and $1.3 billion for mass transit improvements. Gov. Hogan also announced that the state will be fully funding restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and Program Open Space.

$426 million of the budget will be provided to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD). The DCHD capital budget also includes $171 million for broadband infrastructure, $51 million for housing programs, and $104 million for community revitalization and development.

Gov. Hogan’s Re-Fund The Police initiative will be fully funded under the budget. It’s a multi-year investment that will provide more than $500 million over three years to state and local police agencies. The governor also pledged $996 million for mental health and substance use disorder programs. Gov. Hogan says residential substance use disorder treatment spending has increased 420% since Fiscal Year 2017.

Gov. Hogan says financial recovery in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is still at the forefront. Local health departments will receive $75 million. New equity programs for health disparities were also announced. “We were plunged into an unprecedented fiscal crisis that threatened to wipe out all of our hard-won economic progress,” said Gov. Hogan. “We are able to make these commitments while continuing to fund all of Maryland’s top priorities.”

Del. Anderton tells 47ABC says keeping a balanced budget while dealing with a public health crisis can be tricky. But, it’s necessary. “You have priorities for today, but you have to keep an eye out for tomorrow as well. There’s always financial uncertainty over the horizon at any time, especially when you’re still in the throes of a pandemic,” he said. “You spend where it’s prudent, and you hold off on the rest.”

Combing through the budget

Meanwhile, lawmakers have a hectic few weeks ahead of them, as they go over the governor’s budget with a fine-toothed comb. “We’re half way home. The hardest thing is getting things into the budget. The next hardest thing is to keep things in the budget the rest of session. We immediately shift gears to that,” said Del. Anderton. “There will be some tweaks made through the process, of course. By the time we get to April to passing the final iteration of the budget, things will look a little different. But, I don’t expect it to be too drastically different.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Education, Health, Local News, Local Politics, Maryland, Money