SB 316: Property Tax – Charter Counties – Education Funding
February 23, 2011
The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, as the voice of Montgomery County business, opposes Senate Bill 316 which authorizes charter counties to work around charter limits in order to impose additional property taxes for the purposes of funding education.
In Montgomery County, if additional property tax revenues are necessary to fund additional County services, including education, Councilmembers have an opportunity to raise taxes above the charter limit. They do so be securing nine of nine votes from the County Council in order to raise property taxes. Given that this mechanism exists, it seems both unnecessary to enact this legislation and unfair to create a system in which the Charter is violated without the normal approval channels.
In addition, this bill requires education revenues to be maintained at current funding levels, which seems to run counter to the current goals to provide more, not less, flexibility in the State’s requirements for funding K-12 education. At this time of budget crisis, we encourage a system that gives the County Council the flexibility in how to fund County services, but is consistent with our current system for approval of tax increases.
For these reasons, we request an unfavorable report SB 316.