May 21, 2020

Key Takeaways from Maryland’s Board of Public Works: May 20, 2020

Maryland’s Board of Public Works meeting this Wednesday May 20th included important updates on the State’s budget and finances in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a proposed $120.8 million dollar reduction in the state’s FY 2020 budget. Review key takeaways below.  

Helpful Links:

  • View the BPW’s online meeting in its entirety here
  • View the full meeting agenda and details here
  • View the BPW’s meeting schedule and information here

 

 

Secretary Brinkley:

In the wake of new data on the impact of Covid-19 on our economy, the board of revenue estimates last week projected that we could lose up to upwards of $1.1 billion in the current year of revenues. On top of that come even costlier revenue losses in FY 2021 and 2022.

Reductions proposed today represent the next necessary step in the administration’s plan to protect our states finances. The general strategy is to harness general funds that have been set aside for capital projects and that have not been spent or allocated to specific projects or that are not needed at this time. The state can use the unallocated funding to help cover this year’s shortfall.

Most savings come from the Dedicated Purpose Account. Two reductions total $97 million dollars, we are also reducing the MD State Department of Education’s Capital Appropriation grant program by $7.6 million dollars that has gone unallocated through this year.

We are bringing the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit in line with our projected cashflow, freeing up $7 million dollars.

Our grand total recognized more than $120 million dollars in general fund agency reductions. 

Q&A:

Treasurer Kopp:
In terms of unallocated funds; consideration will be made for additional funding in future capital budgets. I assume it is more than just consideration but some sort of agreement that’s these priority items will in fact be given serious consideration and are near the top of the list for when the funds are available next year or the following.

Secretary Brinkley:
That is correct, the $97 million from the Dedicated Purpose Account, $62 million of that are for two projects. The remainder is for the Southern Maryland Program. We are going to ensure these projects take place because we know that is very important to school, community, and environment.

Treasurer Kopp:
Can you touch on where else you are looking for funds?

Secretary Brinkley:
This is the first step in what we have to propose to you for 2020. Some of the changes and decisions from the federal government are changing overnight. Our mission here is to ensure that our agencies have the supplies to ensure public safety. We do not know what our final balances are yet because we get hourly changes from the federal government. We have sufficient funds in the Rainy Day Fund to get us to move forward through this year and the beginning of next year.

Deputy Secretary Marc Nicole:
There are many pieces to our fiscal year balancing plan. It does include the use of Covid-19 relief funds from the federal government. We are allowed to use some of those funds to cover state costs. That will be saving us some money in the fiscal year 2020 budget. We expect savings from our state agencies around $300-$350 million dollars. Much of that is coming as a result of assistance the federal government has provided us with an enhanced federal matching rate on Medicaid.

Governor Rutherford:
Early on there was some discussion of reimbursement from FEMA, is that absorbed into the CARES Act?

Secretary Brinkley:
That was one of the changes that just took place within the last 48 hours. We were required to put up some matching funds for FEMA, now we’re told we can utilize some of the federal funds to meet our matching funds. This is a continually changing dynamic.

Please feel free to reach out to us at 410-321-8200 with any questions or concerns, or to discuss how the takeaways from this meeting could impact your business.

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