Comptroller Presents Students in Frederick and Washington with Maryland Masters Awards

- Unveiling Ceremonies Honors Students in Elementary, Middle and High Schools - 

Annapolis, Md. (December 20, 2013) – Comptroller Peter Franchot presented his Maryland Masters Awards Friday to six students in Frederick and Washington counties.

The Frederick County winners are: Mia Sims, a Kindergartner at Deer Crossing Elementary School in New Market; Mary Lagnese, an eighth grader at Middletown Middle School; and Brad Eisenhauer, a senior at Linganore High School in Frederick. The Washington County winners are: Alexus Smetzer, a fourth grader at Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown; Haley Rodriguez, an eighth grader at Spingfield Middle School in Williamsport; and Anastasia Fedorko, a junior at Clear Spring High School.

The Maryland Master Award recognizes young, talented artists who have displayed extraordinary artistic skills, reflecting the vision of Maryland’s future. The Comptroller initiated the awards program to celebrate the achievements and talents of students from throughout the state enrolled in public schools from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The students’ art will be on exhibit for two months at the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. Selected by local superintendents, the students, their families and school officials were invited to join Comptroller Franchot and state and local officials for the official art exhibit unveiling ceremony and award presentation.

During his nearly 30 years in public service, Comptroller Franchot consistently has advocated for better funding for arts programs and keeping art alive in Maryland schools.

“I emphasize that arts are important to business,” the Comptroller said. The students’ art will join a collection of original paintings by one of the Comptroller’s favorite artists, Herman Maril. An American modernist, Maril was born in Baltimore and served as a professor at the University of Maryland for more than 30 years.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)

Statement of Comptroller Peter Franchot Regarding Updated Revenue Estimates

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (December 11, 2013) – The Board of Revenue Estimates met today to write up revenue estimates for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 by $41.9 million. Comptroller Peter Franchot, as chairman of the Board, released the following statement.

“I’m pleased that this report writes up our expected revenues for fiscal year 2014 and 2015 by a combined $41.9 million, largely due to rising capital gains. I’m glad that, unlike in so many of our past meetings, there is some cause for long-term fiscal and economic optimism within this report.

With the stock market continuing its sustained rise, we’ve seen a noticeable uptick in capital gains receipts and those gains positively impact the personal finances of Maryland families – not just investors of means, but also working families who benefit from rising retirement accounts and college savings plans. This serves as both a reflection and a catalyst for a gradually, albeit slowly, improving economy. After all, when the market experiences prolonged gains, families tend to be more confident with their day-to-day spending habits.

Beyond the positive performance of the stock market, the effects of sequestration appear to have been less than had been feared initially, likely thanks to our leadership in cyber-security, particularly at Fort Meade.

While it’s important to avoid the temptation to misinterpret these encouraging signs out of context, we can appreciate the broader economic picture. Most encouraging, perhaps, is the fact that most of the impediments to economic growth – especially those that were self-inflicted and politically-induced – appear to be behind us.

Recent news out of Capitol Hill indicates progress towards a deal on the federal budget and the debt ceiling. We sincerely hope that our colleagues in Washington will put the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges above their short-term political gains, in order to provide the stability and confidence needed for our economy to grow.

But, as we know, that’s no guarantee, given their poor track record recently in achieving consensus around a deal. So we continue to closely monitor those developments.

Our near-term economic challenges, quite frankly, don’t only depend on compromise in the US Capitol. We still have underlying economic challenges here in Maryland.

Unemployment is still historically high, particularly for Maryland’s standards. Average hourly earnings in Maryland are exactly even with where they were in the depths of the worst economic recession in our lifetime. Maryland ranks 46th in private average hourly and weekly earnings growth during that time.

Based on those figures, it shouldn’t be surprising that we’re writing down sales and use tax by more than $40 million, which is a window into what Maryland families and small businesses are experiencing on a daily basis – from diminished consumer confidence to a weak job market to stagnant wages.

The bottom line is that more than five years after the cataclysmic events of 2008, we’re still experiencing the effects of a slow and uncommonly tepid economic recovery. Far too many Marylanders are still taking home the same or less pay at a time when their living costs are rising, meaning they have less disposable income to spend in an economy that’s primarily based on consumer spending.

So we should note some promising signs that there are fewer risks in 2014 than in the past several years, but we must also be cognizant that the Maryland economy remains exceedingly fragile, particularly for working families and small businesses.

We need to proceed with an exceedingly cautious mindset and avoid policy decisions that add uncertainty, would take money out of the pockets of consumers and would make employers reluctant to invest, grow and hire.

As demonstrated by this report and evident in the broader economy, a sustained economic recovery is going to come down to jobs, both here in Maryland and throughout the nation. As long as we see continued weakness on this front, consumers will inevitably pull back, which will cause businesses to struggle and an economy that will continue to underperform. So we simply cannot afford to create any unnecessary road blocks to job growth.

But if we maintain a cautious mindset, Maryland’s economic bones are as strong and resilient as ever, and I continue to be proud of our battle-tested leadership that has capably led this state through these years of economic and fiscal crisis.

For Maryland families and small businesses, the economy remains fragile, and as the State’s chief fiscal stewards, we must continue to exercise tremendous caution and restraint.”

Note: Closeout report attached

Contact: Andrew Friedson, 410-260-7060 (office) 443-414-3083 (cell)

Comptroller Advises Taxpayers of Delay to Start of 2014 Tax Season Due to IRS Issues

-Processing to Begin Between January 28 and February 4–

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (December 10, 2013) – Comptroller Peter Franchot advised Marylanders today that announced delays by the IRS will cause a corresponding delay to the beginning of the 2014 state tax season. Due to the 16-day federal government shutdown, the IRS has announced it will delay the start of tax return processing until sometime between January 28 and February 4.Maryland, as with most states, relies on IRS systems in the processing and verifying of state returns. Last year, the tax season started on January 21.       

“While I share the understandable frustration most Marylanders will feel about these delays, my Office is working aggressively to process returns and distribute refunds as quickly as external circumstances will allow,” said Comptroller Franchot.  “We pride ourselves on top-flight customer service and we are fully committed to doing everything humanly possible to get money back into the hands of consumers as soon as possible.”                                                            

IRS officials state that October’s federal government shutdown came at the peak of critical yearly system programming and testing resulting in the delay of these essential quality control processes.  The Comptroller’s Office relies on those systems in the processing of state returns. While the IRS has yet to announce the exact date operations will begin, no tax returns will be processed prior to January 28.

“The swift processing of returns and distribution of refunds is my absolute top priority as Comptroller,” Franchot noted. “I’m proud of the agency’s reputation as a national leader in efficiently getting refunds back into the hands of taxpayers and, despite the challenges presented by the IRS delays, we’re prepared to live up to the high standards that Maryland taxpayers rightfully expect.”

While the 2014 tax filing deadline remains April 15, taxpayers may, as usual, request a six-month extension. If an extension is requested from the IRS, one is automatically granted by the Comptroller’s Office.    

Free statetax assistance is available at all of the agency’s 12 taxpayer service offices, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A list of office locations can be found at: For more information on any tax-related matter, please go to the Comptroller’s Website at www.marylandtaxes.com or call 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) outside ofCentral Maryland.

CONTACT: Andrew Friedson, 410-260-7060 (office); 443-414-3083 (cell)

Franchot Receives Ron Resh Business Advocate Award from Chamber of Commerce

- Maryland Comptroller is the Fourth Recipient of Award -

Bethesda, Md. (December 6, 2013) – Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot received the Ron Resh Business Advocate Award at a morning meeting today of the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce.

 “We’re thrilled to present Comptroller Peter Franchot with the Ron Resh Business Advocate Award. He realizes that small businesses are the backbone of our community and makes sure they realize they are important to the future of our State,” said Andy Stern, Immediate-Past President of the Greater Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce and President of Andy Stern’s Office Furniture.

Comptroller Franchot is the fourth recipient of the award named for the late Ronald E. Resh, the longtime leader of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Montgomery County Chambers of Commerce. Resh passed away Oct. 26, 2010.

Resh, who obtained a law degree from George Washington University in 1970, joined a law firm in Washington, D.C., before joining the Montgomery County Council as its first legislative counsel. He served as president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce in the early 1980s, was a public affairs consultant for the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce and served as a lobbyist in Annapolis for a diverse group of clients. Comptroller Franchot said Mr. Resh did a wonderful job representing the interests of hundreds of chamber members in Rockville and Annapolis.

Addressing those gathered for the meeting, Comptroller Franchot said: “I’m truly honored and humbled to receive this award, appropriately named for a wonderful advocate for small businesses. The Maryland economy depends in large part upon your efforts, your ingenuity and your success and I truly appreciate your dedication.”

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Presents Three St. Mary’s County Students with Maryland Masters Awards

- Unveiling Ceremony Honors Students in Elementary, Middle and High Schools -

 Annapolis, Md. (December 5, 2013) – Comptroller Peter Franchot presented his Maryland Masters Awards Thursday to three St. Mary’s County students: Avery Kent, Taylor Bahen and Jessica Burroughs.

Avery Kent, a fourth grader at Evergreen Elementary School in California, Md., created a still life inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings. Taylor Bahen, a seventh grader at Margaret Brent Middle School in Mechanicsville, did a one-point perspective of a medieval village. Jessica Burroughs, a senior at Chopticon High school in Morganza, painted a large scale self-portrait, using primary colors to create form through layers of different values of a color.

The Maryland Master Award recognizes young, talented artists who have displayed extraordinary artistic skills, reflecting the vision of Maryland’s future.  The Comptroller initiated the awards program to celebrate the achievements and talents of students from throughout the state enrolled in public schools from Kindergarten to 12th  grade. The students’ art will be on exhibit for two months at the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. Selected by local superintendents, the students, their families and school officials were invited to join Comptroller Franchot and state and local officials for the official art exhibit unveiling ceremony and award presentation.

 During his nearly 30 years in public service, Comptroller Franchot consistently has advocated for better funding for arts programs and keeping art alive in Maryland schools.

“I emphasize that arts are important to business,” the Comptroller said. The students’ art will join a collection of original paintings by one of the Comptroller’s favorite artists, Herman Maril.  An American modernist, Maril was born in Baltimore and served as a professor at the University of Maryland for more than 30 years.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Presents Two Calvert County Students with Maryland Masters Awards

- Unveiling Ceremonies Honor Elementary and Middle School Students -

 Annapolis, Md. (December 4, 2013) – Comptroller Peter Franchot presented his Maryland Masters Awards in separate ceremonies at his office on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, and on Friday, November 20, 2013, to two Calvert County students, Cameron Benton and Madelyne Matthews.

Cameron Benton, an eighth grader at Mill Creek Middle School in Lusby, was recognized Wednesday for his print of a cougar drawn on a rubber printing plate, then carved onto the plate. Madelyne Matthews, a second grader at Beach Elementary School in Chesapeake Beach, was recognized for her work of white leaf prints with sponge-printed mosaic background on black construction paper. 

The Maryland Master Award recognizes young, talented artists who have displayed extraordinary artistic skills, reflecting the vision of Maryland’s future.  The Comptroller initiated the awards program to celebrate the achievements and talents of students from throughout the state enrolled in public schools from Kindergarten to 12th  grade. The students’ art will be on exhibit for two months at the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. Selected by local superintendents, the students, their families and school officials were invited to join Comptroller Franchot and state and local officials for the official art exhibit unveiling ceremony and award presentation.

 During his nearly 30 years in public service, Comptroller Franchot consistently has advocated for better funding for arts programs and keeping art alive in Maryland schools.

“I emphasize that arts are important to business,” the Comptroller said. The students’ art will join a collection of original paintings by one of the Comptroller’s favorite artists, Herman Maril.  An American modernist, Maril was born in Baltimore and served as a professor at the University of Maryland for more than 30 years.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Franchot is Shopping for the Holidays

- ‘Shop Maryland for the Holidays’ Tour Kicks Off in La Plata - 

Annapolis, Md. (November 21, 2013) – Halloween has faded from view and Thanksgiving is on the horizon, which can only mean one thing, Marylanders are gearing up for holiday shopping.  Once again, Comptroller Peter Franchot is encouraging residents to ‘Shop Maryland for the Holidays’ and he kicked off his 2013 shopping tour today in La Plata.

“The holidays are about friends, family and community.  I can’t think of a better way to promote holiday cheer and goodwill than shopping in the many wonderful businesses throughout out the state,” says Comptroller Franchot. “By shopping at local businesses, you support the more than 500,000 Marylanders employed in our state’s retail sector.” he added.

The Maryland Retailers Association (MRA) says retailers depend on shoppers during the holidays to maintain their ability to provide economic vitality to their communities, and serve as the largest private sector employer in Maryland. “Retailers throughout Maryland are prepared to assist consumers with their holiday shopping,” Patrick Donoho, president of the Maryland Retailers Association said. “Retailers are vital part of the communities throughout Maryland and they truly appreciate the support from those communities during this holiday season.”

“MRA urges consumers to shop their local retailers for their holiday needs. Shopping Maryland retailers helps support the people employed there, who may be family, friends or neighbors, and the support those retailers provide to the community.” Mr. Donoho noted.

La Plata is the first of many planned stops on the Comptroller’s annual tour promoting the fantastic retailers and community shopping areas throughout the state.  He will visit other communities in the coming weeks such as Takoma Park (Montgomery County), Laurel (Prince Georges County), Cumberland (Allegany County), Easton (Talbot County) and Annapolis (Anne Arundel County).  In past years, the Comptroller has also shopped in Baltimore City, Ellicott City, Hunt Valley, Leonardtown and Salisbury.

Comptroller Franchot also reminds consumers that in-state shopping puts citizens’ hard earned money back into their communities and supports local businesses that employ our friends and neighbors. Additionally, he believes that, “shopping locally gets consumers the best product, service and experience for their dollar.”

For those who prefer to shop from home, the Comptroller reminds Marylanders to support local store owners by making sure you buy from a Maryland business website.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Kim Frum, (410) 260-7210 (office), (443) 949-1583 (cell)

Comptroller Presents Three Carroll County Students with Maryland Masters Awards

- Unveiling Ceremony Honors 1 Middle and 2 High School Students -

Annapolis, Md. (November 19, 2013) – Comptroller Peter Franchot presented his Maryland Masters Awards Tuesday to three Carroll County students: Anna Ruby, Courtney McCracken and Chris Scott.

Anna Ruby, a seventh grader at West Middle School, was selected for her fall scene of  leaves that she produced in third grade at Friendship Valley Elementary.  Courtney McCracken, a ninth grader at Century High School, used tempra paint to create her painting of a tiger. Chris Scott, a senior at Westminster High School, used prisma color to build several layers for his distorted portrait of his brother.

The Maryland Master Award recognizes young, talented artists who have displayed extraordinary artistic skills, reflecting the vision of Maryland’s future.  The Comptroller initiated the awards program to celebrate the achievements and talents of students from throughout the state enrolled in public schools from Kindergarten to 12th  grade. The students’ art will be on exhibit for two months at the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. Selected by local superintendents, the students, their families and school officials were invited to join Comptroller Franchot and state and local officials for the official art exhibit unveiling ceremony and award presentation.

During his nearly 30 years in public service, Comptroller Franchot consistently has advocated for better funding for arts programs and keeping art alive in Maryland schools.

“I emphasize that arts are important to business,” the Comptroller said. The students’ art will join a collection of original paintings by one of the Comptroller’s favorite artists, Herman Maril.  An American modernist, Maril was born in Baltimore and served as a professor at the University of Maryland for more than 30 years.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Presents Three Howard County Students with Maryland Masters Awards

- Unveiling Ceremony Honors Elementary, Middle and High School Students -

Annapolis, Md. (November 13, 2013) – Comptroller Peter Franchot presented his Maryland Masters Awards to three Howard County students in elementary, middle and high schools at a ceremony today at the Rockburn Elementary School-Media Center in Eldridge. The students include: Jayden Kelly (elementary), Sarah Cooper (middle), and Kaitlynn Motley (high).

Jayden Kelly, a second grader at Rockburn Elementary School, did a colored pencil artwork titled, “Talking about Lines.”  Sarah Cooper, an eighth grade student at Glenwood Middle School, did a production print titled “Macaws.”  Kaitlynn Motley, a senior at Howard High School in Ellicott City, did a self-portrait using acrylics.

The Maryland Master Award recognizes youngsters who have displayed extraordinary artistic skills, reflecting the vision of Maryland’s future.  The Comptroller initiated the awards program to celebrate the achievements and talents of students from throughout the state enrolled in public schools from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The students’ art will be on exhibit for two months at the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. Selected by local superintendents, the students, their families and school officials will be invited to join Comptroller Franchot and state and local officials for the official art exhibit unveiling ceremony and award presentation.

 During his nearly 30 years in public service, Comptroller Franchot consistently has advocated for better funding for arts programs and keeping art alive in Maryland schools.

“I emphasize that arts are important to business,” the Comptroller said. The students’ art will join a collection of original paintings by one of the Comptroller’s favorite artists, Herman Maril.  An American modernist, Maril was born in Baltimore and served as a professor at the University of Maryland for more than 30 years.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Franchot Awarded Honor for Financial Reporting

- CAFR Awarded Highest Honor for More Than 30 Consecutive Years -

Annapolis, Md. (November 5, 2013) –  A North-American government finance organization recently awarded Comptroller Peter Franchot with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.  The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) honored Comptroller Franchot for Maryland’s fiscal year 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).  Received for the last 34 years, the award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

“To truly claim consent of the governed, we owe it to the taxpayers we serve to make their government as open and transparent as possible. In that spirit of openness and transparency, I’m proud that my agency’s efforts to educate and inform the public on the state’s finances are being recognized,” said Comptroller Franchot.

 The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users to read the publication.  For more information on the award program, visit the GFOA website at www.gfoa.org.  For more information on the state’s financial picture, view the state’s fiscal year 2012 CAFR.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,800 government finance professionals.

MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Feldmann, 410-260-6346 (office); 443-336-0215 (cell)