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Spending Affordability

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By ANDREW A. GREEN and ANDREW A. GREEN,SUN REPORTER | March 5, 2006
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. poured millions into his budget proposal this year for universities and colleges, programs for the disabled and school construction, calling for the highest spending growth rate in a quarter-century. In doing so, he ignored one of the most significant achievements of the Maryland Republican Party in recent decades - the creation of guidelines designed to stop the state budget from increasing faster than the economy. For years, the need to stay within the bounds of what are known as spending affordability guidelines was dogma for fiscally conservative Republicans in Annapolis, some of whom now hold high-ranking posts in the Ehrlich administration.
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NEWS
By Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2012
After years of budgetary gloom and shortfalls in the billions of dollars, Maryland's fiscal forecasters offered lawmakers a brighter outlook Tuesday, saying the state's operating budget could be just $27 million in the red next fiscal year. Top fiscal analyst Warren Deschenaux told an Annapolis budget committee that it almost appears that next year's budget "could take care of itself. " The last few years in Annapolis have been wrought with fiscal angst as lawmakers had to close budget gaps in the roughly $16 billion annual spending plan with spending cuts and tax increases.
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NEWS
By John W. Frece and John W. Frece,Annapolis Bureau | June 21, 1992
ANNAPOLIS -- State spending this coming year, expanded by a tax increase, will exceed the growth in personal income among Marylanders by 3.5 percentage points, according to a new analysis of the 1993 budget.That's far above the guidelines the state has followed for the last decade as it attempts to match increases in state spending with taxpayers' ability to pay.Only once since the "spending affordability" concept was first employed in 1983 has the increase in state government spending exceeded the growth in personal income.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | April 3, 2012
Gov. Martin O"Malley's $69.5 million supplemental budget, an update to the overall state budget that usually comes to the General Assembly late in its 90-day session, would add 85 positions in the Office of the Public Defender to deal with a Court of Appeals decision expanding the right to representation at bail review hearings -- putting the executive brance above its limit of full-time employees. To bring the state under the limit set by the legislature's Joint Committeee on Spending Affordability, legislative analysts are recommending that lawmakers require the governor to trim 77 positions from its payroll over the next budget year, which starts July 1. The spending affordability panel has set a goal of limiting the number of full-time positions to just over 79,000.
NEWS
By Samuel Goldreich and Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer | May 16, 1991
Taxpayers will find a new venue to sound off about the county budgetin September, when the Spending Affordability Committee sponsors three meetings for public comment.The panel, created by voters last year to determine how much government they can pay for, decided Tuesday night to expand the scope of its review."We're going to ask the public and citizens as a whole to tell uswhat they think about what we we should be doing, and spending affordability, and anything else they want to tell us," committee chairmanBennett Shaver said yesterday.
NEWS
March 9, 1994
Two fiscal committees in Annapolis find themselves in a straitjacket of their own making. Unless these legislators show flexibility, damaging cuts to government programs may be inevitable.The problem is that the "spending affordability limit" set late last year by a committee of legislators and businessmen is roughly $160 million lower than the budget submitted by Gov. William Donald Schaefer. Yet economic indicators suggest the legislature's voluntary spending limit is too conservative: state revenue is likely to be more in line with the governor's 6 percent growth forecast than the committee's 5 percent estimate.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer | February 3, 1995
A committee that advises elected officials on how much government spending Anne Arundel taxpayers can afford has endorsed County Executive John G. Gary's proposal to appoint school board members.The Spending Affordability Committee said in its annual report, released this week, that the move would help the executive control education spending, which accounts for 57 percent of the county's operating budget, and give the executive more authority in the operation of the schools."Given the primacy of education in both importance and expenditures, it only makes sense to invest the county executive with the authority commensurate with his responsibility," the report said.
NEWS
By Ellen Sauerbrey | February 28, 2001
THE MARYLAND spending affordability law, meant to prevent state spending from growing faster than the state's economy, is on life support. Some of the key legislators who must enforce the process no longer appear committed to upholding the spirit of the law. Gov. Parris N. Glendening has shamelessly handed them an irresponsible budget that is balanced only by gimmicks, fails to allocate money for bills that will have to be paid, exhausts most of the...
NEWS
By Cecilia Januszkiewicz | October 2, 2008
Disturbing headlines about the credit and financial crisis may confuse Marylanders about the state's current bleak budget picture. Many may believe that our budget problems stem from a decline in revenues resulting from the faltering economy. That perception would be understandable - but wrong. Even in this economic climate, the state expects half a billion dollars more in revenue than it received in fiscal year 2008. Unlike many Maryland households, the state's income is increasing. Maryland's problem is not a lack of revenue.
NEWS
January 18, 1999
GOV. Parris N. Glendening again runs the risk of being targeted as a big spender. His $17.7 billion budget, to be submitted in detail later this week, goes far beyond what conservative legislators have set as an affordable level of spending. A battle between the executive and legislative branches is inevitable as Mr. Glendening begins his second term this week.Since the 1982 creation of a Spending Affordability Committee, lawmakers have attempted to control spending so it does not endanger Maryland's long-term financial well-being.
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | January 11, 2012
Baltimore County will continue to see slow economic growth in 2012, an economist told the county's Spending Affordability Committee on Wednesday at its first meeting of the year. "We know that the economic recovery continues to be quite fragile," Anirban Basu of Sage Policy Group told the committee. He predicted personal income would grow between 4 percent and 4.5 percent in fiscal year 2012, which ends June 30. That's compared to about 4.6 percent in the previous fiscal year.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | December 15, 2011
The General Assembly's Joint Committee on Spending Affordability is expected to set a goal Thursday night of trimming the state's long-term budget shortfall -- known in as the structural deficit -- in half during the legislative session that begins in January. If the lawmakers were to keep to their previous plans, the cut would amount to roughly a $500 million reduction in projected spending. The legislature set out to erase the structural deficit in three annual stages last year, starting with what was then a one-third cut. To stay on that course it would have to cut the remaining gap by half this year and eliminate the remainder next year.
NEWS
Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | December 15, 2011
The General Assembly's Joint Committee on Spending Affordability set a goal Thursday night of trimming Maryland's long-term budget shortfall — known as the structural deficit — in half during the legislative session that begins in January. According to the Department of Legislative Services, meeting that goal would require about $550 million in cuts in projected spending unless revenues are increased. Meanwhile, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller told reporters that he supports a smaller increase in transportation revenues than has been recommended by a blue-ribbon commission on transportation funding.
NEWS
By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun | March 10, 2011
Prospects for rising income tax revenues are improving for Howard County, an economist told the county panel that will recommend spending and borrowing decisions for the next county budget, though dangers of a renewed decline remain potent. "For the next two years, off a low base of incomes, this county looks pretty good, we think," economist Anirban Basu told the county Spending Affordability Committee on Wednesday morning at the George Howard Building. "That doesn't mean the county should go on a spending frenzy … but things will be less worse.
NEWS
By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun | February 16, 2011
Baltimore County will likely pull from its reserves to balance the budget and stay within guidelines proposed this week by the county Spending Affordability Committee. With the county facing a $38.5 million revenue shortfall as it goes into budget deliberations, the committee recommended capping next year's spending plan at $1.63 billion in a report released Tuesday. The committee's guidelines would allow an increase of approximately $36 million over this year's budget, funds that could come from about $147 million in surplus money.
NEWS
December 22, 2010
Maryland's Spending Affordability Committee found itself in a difficult situation. The group of legislators and a few outside experts is supposed to make a recommendation to the governor of how much the budget can increase in the next year without outpacing the growth of the state's economy. But with the economy still weak and the budget in a shambles after the end of the federal stimulus program, the committee would have found itself in the business of figuring out how much the budget should be cut, not how much it should grow.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer | February 8, 1994
An advisory committee that determines how much county spending taxpayers can afford has recommended an increase of 4.6 percent in the next fiscal year's operating budget.Members of the Spending Affordability Committee, in their annual report to the county executive and County Council, recommended that the operating budget for fiscal 1995, which begins July 1, not exceed $691.2 million.That amount, an increase of $30.4 million over last year's budget, reflects what the committee believes county taxpayers can afford to pay for services, based on the percentage of their personal income that is consumed by taxes.
NEWS
December 21, 2007
This week's decision by the General Assembly's Spending Affordability Committee to limit the growth of spending next year is a reasonable response to a softening economy. By historical standards, a 4.27 percent rate of increase is low, particularly at a time when government is being asked to allocate more for education and health care. But government spending should reflect the state's overall economic circumstance, and it's not difficult to see clouds on the horizon. Clearly, Gov. Martin O'Malley is going to have to make some further reductions in spending.
NEWS
By Cecilia Januszkiewicz | October 2, 2008
Disturbing headlines about the credit and financial crisis may confuse Marylanders about the state's current bleak budget picture. Many may believe that our budget problems stem from a decline in revenues resulting from the faltering economy. That perception would be understandable - but wrong. Even in this economic climate, the state expects half a billion dollars more in revenue than it received in fiscal year 2008. Unlike many Maryland households, the state's income is increasing. Maryland's problem is not a lack of revenue.
NEWS
By Cecilia Januszkiewicz | February 19, 2008
The whole point of last year's General Assembly special session was to address Maryland's budget problems by fixing the "structural deficit" - so that's something we no longer have to worry about, right? Wrong. Despite annual tax increases of more than $1 billion adopted in November, and a possible $500 million expected annually from slot machines, a transfer of $125 million from the state's rainy day fund is needed to balance the fiscal 2009 budget now being considered by the Assembly.
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