Franchot: Maryland economy hasn't bottomed out
Maryland's economy and finances are still sliding backward, with no quick reversal in sight, Comptrolle Peter Franchot said.
Speaking to the Baltimore Sun's editorial board, Franchot dismissed news reports that contained glimmers of economic hope, such as an uptick in consumer spending.
"We don't see a single indicator of that" in state revenue figures, the state's top tax collector said.
Franchot said that collections from sales, income and capital gains taxes are sliding, and will soon negate the budget-cutting work done by lawmakers earlier this month, who cut programs and funds to create an extra cushion.
"I think that $100 million cushion, when we do the next (revenue) estimate will have evaporated," Franchot said.
Franchot touched on other issues.
On slots, Franchot -- a critic of the gambling program who led an effort to defeat the constitutional amendment allowing the machines -- indicated that the bidding for slots licenses was a disgrace. Only four valid bidders have emerged for five slots locations, meaning, right now, no license will be awarded by a slots commission through a competitive process.
"If (bidding) were done at the Board of Public Works, they would be rejected," Franchot said, refering to the state spending panel on which his sits.
On his 2010 re-election: Franchot said "yes" to a question on whether he would seek re-election, and said he did not know whether term-limited Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith would run against him. But he said his slots opposition has sparked such anger in some quarters that "I may have to suffer through a primary challenge" because of it.