At today's Wicomico County Council meeting the County Administrator's office disclosed that a revision should be made to adjust their Income Tax Revenue Estimates. The Department's presentation showed a dramatic decline in anticipated Income Tax Revenues for Wicomico County. According to their report - Wicomico will end the year with an average of about 47,600 - a miss of 1,400 workers. Their original 2014 Income Tax revenue estimate - estimated growth at 1.1% for a total increase of 540 jobs or a total of 49,000 jobs. In this author's humble opinion - they were far to optimistic and have missed the mark.
Here at SBYnews we have provided our readers with the most up to date and accurate information as it relates to our local employment scene. We have been posting monthly labor information for several years now and by all of the indicators - WICOMICO COUNTY IS IN AN ECONOMIC DEPRESSION.
According to the dictionary definition of a Depression -
'In economics, a depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies.'
Here in Wicomico our residents have experienced, both, a dramatic decline in real property values, coupled with lackluster employment numbers.
What does this mean for Wicomico's residents:
1. According to the Administration's plan - it calls for merging the Roads Fund into the General Fund beginning with the FY15 budget cycle. Then, they propose to increase the use of prior year fund balance by 2.7M and decrease the inter-fund transfer from the general fund by the same amount, thus depleting the Roads fund balance prior to merger with the GF. (Author's note - in layman's terms, 'Robbing Peter to Pay Paul') According to their report - this should create a cushion against the anticipated shortfall in income tax revenues.
2. Higher taxes. Since the annual operating budget is not being reduced commensurate to the declines in revenues, then the County will no doubt have to increase property taxes to make up for the short fall. A brief review of the past few budget cycles reveals that the operating budget has been steadily increasing.
Bottom line - Wicomico County's economy is stagnant. Nationally, Regionally, and Locally - the growth in GDP is simply not enough to grow our economies. A paltry 2.4% GDP increase is simply not enough to sustain our nations population growth. The long term implications as to what has transpired continues to drain our residents resources. The structural imbalances have not been rectified and thus we are experiencing economic hardships.
Stay tuned to Local Impact from the School Teachers Pension Shift Onto the Counties - (Recent Martin O'Malley Proposed Equation) - Future Impact!