Two years ago, the County Council voted to increase property taxes by nine percent. The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce asked this question about the tax hike in their questionnaires: “Did you or would you have supported the 2016 property tax increase?” The organizations then published the questionnaire responses on their websites. We summarize the answers below.
These Executive candidates supported the tax hike (and voted for it).
Yes. The money was needed to meet the ever-increasing demands of our school system, which is one of the best means the County has to attract and retain business. Investments in schools is an investment in our growth. Funding appropriated helped reduce class sizes and supported programming to help close the achievement gap in order to ensure all kids graduating from MCPS are ready for college and the work force.
Yes, the County Council passed this unanimously, but I will not support further property tax increases during the four-year term beginning in 2018.
These Executive candidates opposed the size of the tax hike but declined to say that there should have been no increase.
I believe the 2016 property tax hike was excessive. An over-reliance on property taxes has contributed to a lack of affordable housing in this community — we must expand the tax base through economic growth and new jobs. These tax hikes were imposed because our county officials have failed to foster job and economic growth. We cannot continue to increase taxes to fund our programs and I would not support new taxes moving forward.
The 2016 property tax increase did not need to be as high as it was. The County Executive originally asked for such a large increase because of the negative financial impact on the county of the Wynne decision, but once the county went to court to obtain a longer period of time to pay back the monies that had been collected inappropriately, the county executive made it clear that the tax increase could be rolled back to about 5%. The Council chose to fund new programs with the additional dollars, putting the county in an even worse financial position. Now both businesses and individuals alike are united against the high level of taxation in the county, which is why I want to expand our tax base by becoming much more business friendly.
Delegate Bill Frick and Robin Ficker did not complete the questionnaires.