Maryland reports huge $2.5B budget fund balance

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland has a huge $2.5 billion fund balance in the state budget, largely due to federal stimulus aid during the pandemic, the state’s comptroller announced Wednesday.

Comptroller Peter Franchot made the announcement as the state closed its books for the last fiscal year. The $2.5 billion fund balance represents more than 5% of the state’s $48 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2021.

The unusually high amount of fund balance now is driven by much larger-than-expected revenue growth from federal stimulus funding, which increased personal and business income and expanded consumer spending.

The comptroller’s office said a significant share of the additional balance is attributed to better-than-expected results for tax year 2020.

Even in a year where 14% of employed Marylanders lost a job — and 6% remained unemployed at the end of the year — state personal income tax collections for tax year 2020 grew by roughly 7.3%, according to the comptroller. That indicates taxpayers with business income and capital gains experienced robust income growth during 2020.

Wage growth and sales tax collections outperformed expectations for the final six months of the fiscal year.

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