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Baltimore Sun: Maryland revenue projections increased by $732 million

Maryland has increased its estimate of the revenue it will receive this year and next by $732 million, funding that would put the state budget on a sound footing for the General Assembly's 2019 session.

The projection for the budget year ending June 30 of $18.1 billion in revenue, which the state Board of Revenue Estimates approved this week, represents a 4.1 percent increase over the previous estimate.

The forecast for next year of $18.7 billion is a 3.3 percent increase over this year’s number.

Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot on Wednesday described the expected infusion as “a tidal wave of new cash.”

He told his fellow members of the Board of Public Works — Republican Gov. Harry Hogan and Democratic Treasurer Nancy Kopp — that he’d like to see the state bank much of the projected increases as a hedge against any future downturn.

The comptroller’s office attributed the increased projections to changes in federal tax law, as well as wage growth and low unemployment.

The higher projections follow the news that the state closed its books on the last budget year with $503 million more than expected.

Optimistic projections such as the one this week can set the stage for budget battles in the legislative session as Republicans push for tax cuts and Democrats call for expanded programs.

There will also be pressure to save money to address the findings of a commission studying how Maryland finances aid to local school systems. That panel’s recommendations, expected later this year, could run into billions of dollars each year.

The revenue estimates board will update its forecast again in December.

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