ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — During this past year of challenges during the pandemic, managing finances has been especially stressful. But at the Maryland state capitol in Annapolis, the fiscal house is in order.
Both Governor Larry Hogan and both houses of the General Assembly have confidence in the state’s fiscal condition, even after a nervous pandemic year. So much confidence they are in virtual agreement on a $50 billion annual budget and are looking to the state’s future priorities.
Governor Hogan stated on Wednesday’s State House press conference, “I am committing $300 million will be invested in a game-changing broadband technology initiative which will enable us to finally provide the infrastructure and technical assistance to ensure that every single Marylander has access to high-speed internet in every corner of the state.”
Baltimore City Delegate Brooke Lierman a candidate for state comptroller next year, already has a bill in the works to get broadband on a fast track. Senate President Bill Ferguson says the first-rate internet is a priority moving to the front off the line.
“The question isn’t how much does it cost to bridge the digital divide,” said Ferguson. “The question is how much will it cost if we don’t act right now.
Meanwhile, veteran Senator George Edwards, ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, feels Maryland is in solid fiscal condition.
“We’re in good financial shape now where we were looking at a bad financial situation,” says Edwards. “We’re in a great financial shape now looking at a good future as long as we handle it right. I think we’re doing that.”
Oh, and cash on hand? The state has a nifty $657 million. The budget sets aside $1.1 billion in rainy day funds, about five percent of the general fund revenues.