Montgomery county commissioners have raised the property tax by nine cents over the last two years, from 58 cents to 67 cents per $100 valuation — a 15.5 percent increase.
Now the commissioners want $225,000 tax increase (an amount about the same as another one-cent increase in the property tax). If voters approve this tax increase, the total tax increase over the last three years would be $2.1 million.
Commissioners have not promised to use this tax increase to reduce the property tax.
In fact, commissioners have not promised to use the increased revenue for any specific purpose.
Instead, they want the money “to help address and alleviate fiscal constraints within Montgomery County.”
County commissioners spent all of the state required cash reserves between fiscal years 2003 and 2009.
Taxpayers have little access to online information about county government. The county does not have the checkbook, contracts, future liability for retirees, Capital Improvement Plan, number of employees, audit reports, salaries of employees by job code, or the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report available online.
Since the special county taxing authority was established by the legislature in 2007, voters have turned down 68 of 85 requests for tax increases, sending the message that county commissioners must be more responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money before voters will entrust them with tax increases.
Montgomery County voters should think twice before harming taxpayers and small employers with a tax increase during the current economic downturn.