Current Budget Problems Just the Start of County’s Fiscal Issues (Video)

The Montgomery County budget is like the opposite of the rap by Notorious B.I.G. Less Money Mo Problems.

County Executive Ike Leggett has asked county departments for 2 percent in cuts, which will form the basis of a savings plan he’ll present to the County Council before Christmas. The county needs the plan to make up a $120 million revenue shortfall in fiscal 2018, the current budget year.

Meanwhile, County Finance Director Jennifer Hughes told the council Tuesday that fiscal 2019 won’t be much better. She told councilmembers Tuesday that resources for the fiscal 2019 budget will be $208 million, or 4.8 percent, less than this year.

A state law, called maintenance of effort, requires county school spending to equal or surpass, per-pupil, what the county spent the year before. That means the budgets for county government and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will be 11.7 percent below the 2018 level, her memo says.

On Tuesday, Leggett described the difficulties of cutting the $120 million could be more difficult than a few years ago when the county cut $978 million. Here’s the video:

Meanwhile, the economy seems to be doing well in Montgomery County. The unemployment rate is 3.1 percent, down from 3.4 percent a year ago, according to Jacob Sesker, senior legislative analyst for the council.

At the state level, things aren’t bad. Statistics from the Board of Revenue Estimates out Wednesday show individual income taxes are projected to come in about $269 million higher than in 2018, but the board had expected a $361 million increase.

Sales taxes also came in about $33 million less than expected.

Overall, revenue is on pace to climb about $360 million, but the board had projected a $433 million increase.

“Those are pretty conservative estimates, and we’re not getting to those,” said Joseph Shapiro, assistant comptroller.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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