Jack knew the rules when he ran for office. If he can't live with them, he should resign or make another honest attempt to change them. But he should not be attempting another totally DISHONEST end run around the will of the voters.
Those delegates and senators who appear to be supporting him ought to attend to state business and stop trying to subvert the county charter and the will of the voters.
Since this is a bill aimed at interfering in the government of the county, the fair thing to do would be to have public hearings, in the county, with adequate notice, not in Annapolis with little notice. Once again, it appears that assurances from the likes of Meloney Griffith are worthless.
Unfortunately, these Tax and Spend Democrats have a complete monopoly, with no opposition, and know that the voters of Prince George's County will let them get away with anything.
In my opinion, any delegate or senator who sponsors a bill like this is no better than Jack Johnson and equally deserving of our contempt.
Lacking a recall provision and with no opposition party, there doesn't seem to be much we can do to effectively show our contempt for these people.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: robinsonawjr <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 4:53 PM
Subject: [PG-Politics] JOHNSON WANTS PROPERTY TAX INCREASE - HOMESTEAD TAX %
PG 414-09 is a bill to raise the Homestead Tax Credit Percentage on property in order to raise property taxes. What did I tell you folks! If you open this barn door, it will never close. See Gazette article below for details.
A Public hearing will be held on PG 414-09, Wednesday at 7 pm at Room 150 of the House Office Building. Johnson plans to address the delegates. The bill can be read at the delegation website:
I was assured by Melanie Griffith, head of the PG Delegation, that citizens would be notified in sufficient time to respond, but that didn't happen. Apparently, Ms. Griffith is also a sponsor, but failed to give me that information as well. I will be attending this hearing, but if you plan to, you need to read bill on line, verify date and time on website below or with Chair – Melanie Griffith's number (301) 858-3557.
Monday, Feb. 2, 2009
Johnson seeks to increase taxes
State officials plan to discuss possible increases Wednesday
By Daniel Valentine | Staff Writer
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) is asking state lawmakers this week to introduce legislation that would increase the amount the county government can tax homeowners.
A government source familiar with the proposed legislation said Johnson is asking to temporarily increase the county's Homestead Tax Credit, a cap that limits how much a homeowner's property tax assessment can increase every year.
Johnson's proposal calls for allowing county property assessments to increase to the maximum 10 percent allowed by the state each year for the next two years. Currently, county property assessments can only increase by 5 percent each year.
Johnson plans to discuss the change with lawmakers Wednesday night, the government source said.
County Delegation Chairwoman Melony G. Griffith (D-Dist. 25) of Upper Marlboro said the executive has not provided details on how he wishes to alter the homestead credit but said the delegation hopes to hold a public hearing on the proposal at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
"You should have some answers then," Griffith said.
Johnson is also asking for legislation to authorize the county to use money from the county's 2.6-cent transit tax on property to help fund the county's school bus system. The tax currently pays only for public transportation costs, while school buses cost the county more than $90 million per year.
The measures are Johnson's attempt to forestall firing workers in the next budget year, the government source said.
"If this doesn't pass, there are going to be a lot of people without jobs," the source said.
The requested legislation is prompting new concerns that the executive is trying to bypass a voter-imposed restriction on county tax increases put in place in 1996.
"This government needs to be honest," said Judy Robinson, a Hyattsville resident who has fought previous attempts to raise county taxes. "They owe it to the people of Prince George's County. Jack Johnson is being devious about this."
Assessments, the state-determined value of a home, are what county officials use to determine property tax bills. The credit currently limits property assessments for owner-occupied homes in Prince George's County from rising more than 5 percent each year.
If the assessment increase remains at 5 percent and the property tax rate stays the same 96 cents for every $100 of assessed value a person with the average county home valued at $310,000 would see the property tax bill increase by $148 next year, not including state and city taxes. If the assessment cap is lifted to the maximum 10 percent allowed in Maryland, that same tax bill would increase by $297.
Sources within the county delegation and council said Johnson has not provided them with more specific details on his proposal as of Monday and only proposed the tax change last week.
The requested legislation changing the homestead credit comes as the county faces a fiscal crisis due to the ongoing recession and real estate market collapse. County officials said last week they may need to fire up to 500 workers to close a projected $102 million deficit in the county's $2.6 billion budget under review this spring.
Johnson has met with state and local lawmakers seeking ways to raise more money for the county through state action. He has spoken of asking the state for some form of "revenue enhancement" to get through the fiscal crisis.
Taxes have long been a bone of contention among county residents, who have organized campaigns to restrict the government's ability to increase fees. In 1996, voters amended the county charter to force any county tax rate increase to be approved by referendum.
Since the amendments were adopted, no referendum on an increase has passed. Last November, a vote on increasing the county telephone tax by about $2 per month failed by more than 70 percent.
County leaders have tried to circumvent the charter restriction by getting the state legislature to approve new state fees and increases to benefit the county. Last year, County Council members raised the state income tax limit for residents to its maximum over protests from anti-tax advocates.
"This should be on the 2010 ballot," Robinson said referring to the homestead tax proposal.
Regardless of need, increasing taxes is likely to be an unpopular move as residents face tighter times along with the government, warned Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a Mitchellville resident.
"I don't think this is the environment to raise property taxes in Maryland," said Brown, who said the legislature would examine Johnson's proposal.
E-mail Daniel Valentine at email@example.com.