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As Md. faces shortfall, Hogan pledges to roll back tax hikes

BETHESDA, Md. – Maryland’s incoming governor on Friday morning laid out the cold hard fact that the state is in worse shape than previously thought with a close to $900 million budget hole facing lawmakers as they return to Annapolis in January.

Gov.-elect Larry Hogan was the keynote speaker at the 25th annual legislative breakfast put on by the Committee for Montgomery at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 800 people, Hogan said he is full of hope even as the state stares down a deficit as he’s about to take office next month. The audience was made up of local, state and federal leaders, members from the Montgomery County business community, the education community and others.

“The problems that face us are great. But so is our resolve to fix them and to succeed. I’m going to need all of your help,” Hogan told the crowd. “It doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is or what part of the state you’re from or if you voted for me or not, we are all going to have to work together to turn our great state around.”

Hogan has assembled a diverse and bi-partisan team to review the state’s finances, including Doug Duncan, the former Montgomery County executive.

Hogan says since Election day, the teams has been pouring over the state budget.

“The $400 million revenue shortfall announced in the fall, just weeks later was revised to a $800 million and we expect that to reach $1 billion before it’s all over with,” he said.

Hogan said that 40 consecutive tax hikes have back-fired and led to $10 billion in tax revenue to be lost as employers, jobs, families and retirees continue to leave the state.

“As we work to reign in spending and run the government in a more efficient and more cost effective way, we’ll then begin rolling back the 40 tax hikes that have crushed our economy,” he said.

Maryland is facing a shortfall of about $300 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The state also has a projected $593 million budget hole in the next fiscal year, the Associated Press has reported.

Hogan, a Republican, has asked an adviser to present policy options in 10 days on how to get as close to a balanced budget as possible for the next two years. Hogan will submit a budget plan to the legislature two days after he is sworn in Jan. 21.

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