Are Tax Caps in Maryland Dead?

Delegate Norm Conway (D-38B) and Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt may be getting an early Christmas present – the death of Wicomico County’s revenue cap.  Conway’s bill, HB 1412, received a favorable report yesterday from his Appropriations Committee, as well as the House Ways and Means Committee.  If the bill passes both houses, Wicomico (along with Talbot and other counties that have some form of a property tax cap) will no longer have protection from a county government that chooses to hike rates at whim.  The county government will merely need to claim “It’s for the children”.

Pollitt has long been an opponent of Wicomico’s revenue cap and has refused to re-structure the county’s government in response to the voter imposed paradigm shift.  Now Conway, Pollitt’s friend and political ally appears to be on the verge of successfully shepherding through a bill which will only require Pollitt to submit a budget claiming that a property tax hike is “for education”.  The county council can approve such a tax hike with a majority vote.

Today the Wicomico County Council will hear from the Executive Branch on the potential impact of HB 1412 and SB 848.  The Senate bill, which has already passed the Maryland Senate and received a favorable report from the House Ways and Means Committee, redefines the way maintenance of effort (MOE) for counties is calculated.  In order to keep MOE at the same level as FY 2012, the county will (if the bill passes) be forced to increase its income tax rate from 3.1% to 3.2% (the maximum allowed by law).

The Daily Times’ Callum McKinney reported on the measure in this morning’s addition edition, but confused the two distinct bills.  McKinney implies that Wicomico County could be on the hook for an additional $14 million due to HB 1412.  It is the Senate bill that  would reset MOE unless the county raises its income tax rate.

It is telling that Pollitt has been screaming about the proposed shift in teacher pensions but has not muttered any opposition to Conway’s bill.  Supporters of the revenue cap should make their voices heard to both Pollitt and Conway.

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  1. Outta Here says:


    Surely, you jest —

    “Supporters of the revenue cap should make their voices heard to both Pollitt and Conway.”

    • G. A. Harrison says:

      No, I’m not jesting. However, you are correct if you imply that complaining DIRECTLY to both Pollitt and Conway would do no good. People need to express their outrage PUBLICLY. That means public comment at council meetings, comments on blogs, and letters to the editor.

      It’s ironic that the Daily Times is going “woe is me” over a 0.1% in the income tax rate but says NOTHING about Conway’s attack on the revenue cap. I’m so shocked!

  2. Anonymous says:

    it’s edition, not addition.

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