Biden’s Billions

By Adam Pagnucco.

President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress passed a mammoth economic stimulus plan last week. The plan contains hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to states and local governments. How much of that is coming to Maryland?

According to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, a LOT.

Cardin and Van Hollen estimate that Maryland and its local jurisdictions will receive a total of nearly $6.4 billion, with the state getting $3.9 billion, the counties getting $1.2 billion and municipalities getting $1.1 billion. The money can be used to respond to or mitigate the COVID-19 health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and aid for tourism, travel, and hospitality; provide essential workers with premium pay; cover revenue loss as a result incurred as a result of the COVID-19 emergency; or to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. The money cannot be used to support any pension fund or offset a tax cut.

The table below shows the estimated distribution of funds by county.

The table below shows the estimated distribution of funds for MoCo and its municipalities.

The plan also includes lots of additional money for education, transportation and more.

This doesn’t solve all of MoCo’s budget problems, especially the issues connected to the county’s long-term lack of competitiveness in the region. But it should help the county balance its budget without raiding reserves or retiree health care so long as it practices some spending restraint. One mistake that the county should not make is to use this one-time funding to initiate new indefinite, long-term spending. This federal money, while welcome, is temporary.

The executive’s recommended budget comes out later today.