Montgomery County executive defends his property tax plan
ROCKVILLE, Md. - There’s already backlash over Montgomery County’s plan to raise property taxes.
It turns out some taxpayers aren't just unhappy about the tax hikes themselves. They're also frustrated about how lawmakers plan to vote on them.
Residents were told just last week that it would be very difficult to raise property taxes in Montgomery County because of a law that any increase, had to be unanimous among all 11 council members.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich unveiled his FY 2024 $6.8 billion Operating Budget on Wednesday, recommending a "10-cent increase" to the county’s property tax rate. The revenue would all go toward fully funding Montgomery County’s Public Schools.
But it turns out, that's not how this property tax is going to be voted on. County Executive Marc Elrich is invoking a Maryland state law that any property tax increase that goes only to schools — as this one is written — only needs to be a simple majority vote.
That means instead of needing 11 votes, Elrich only needs six.
The county executive told FOX 5 that he's defending the need for the hike since schools need to increase salaries.
"It’s not a bait and switch!" Elrich said. "The decision to fund the school and the school budget only leaves other things undone. We’ve got a wealth of things particular infrastructure we’re not able to do."
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich
"I want to protect the funding because we can’t afford to not be competitive in our schools," he added.
Six major county unions covering teachers, police and firefighters came out in favor of the .1% increase Thursday morning. But the president & CEO of the county chamber of commerce issued a statement saying the proposal seems "tone-deaf and out of step with the issues." Council President Evan Glass has scheduled the first public hearing for April 11.