Fiscal responsibility and transformative investments in health care are the focus of Maryland’s preliminary budget for next year.

The fiscal year 2024 budget was unveiled Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan said, and features a plan that will help sustain Maryland’s economic growth while providing key investments in health care for rural and vulnerable communities.

“I pledged to bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to our state capitol,” Hogan said in a release. “I know this doesn’t usually happen in politics, but we then did exactly what we said we would do. We inherited the worst fiscal situation ever, and we are not just leaving the state’s finances in better shape than we found them but leaving it in the best fiscal position than the state has ever been in history.”

With Gov.-elect Wes Moore being sworn in as Maryland’s new governor next month, the state’s budget process calls for the outgoing administration to prepare a preliminary fiscal document. The Moore administration will then submit the document to the General Assembly no later than Friday, Jan. 20.

According to the release, the recommended budget plan is designed to keep the rainy day fund at 12% of general fund revenues, yet maintaining and fully funding core budget priorities.

Hogan stressed, according to the release, the importance of curtailing risks in the fiscal document as economic uncertainty and inflation loom large.

“With continued inflation and economic uncertainty at the national level, we believe this is critically important,” Hogan said in a release. “It would be a mistake for the Legislature to use its newly expanded budgetary power to return to the old habits of raiding the rainy day fund or recklessly spending down the surplus. We have worked too hard and made too much progress to turn the clock back.”

Recommendations in the fiscal document, according to the release, feature investments in education while supporting low-income, high needs students. The document calls for funding education at continued record levels, and providing $10 million to curb learning loss, and another $10 million for scholarships for low-income students.

More than $220 million in transformative investments in health care are in the document, which are designed to expand health care access and services for those communities in rural areas and are deemed vulnerable.

Also contained in the fiscal document, according to the release, are a $500 million investment in Re-Fund The Police initiative, along with $30 million for Victims of Crime Assistance grants, and $2.1 million for the ZeroEyes gun detection pilot program.

A $102 million recommended investment is contained in the document that would work to replenish the Program Open Space nearly a decade ahead of schedule and fully fund Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, according to the release.

The document, according to the release, also calls for a $70 million in rental housing and homeownership programs; $25 million for Project Restore and Neighborhood BusinessWorks initiatives; and $25 million for Project Core, which works to eliminate blight in Baltimore.

Brent Addleman

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply