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Friday, March 13, 2015

Despite PG's already heavy tax burden, Rushern Baker proposes real property, personal property & telecom tax increases

​That's right--Tax and Spend Rushern Baker wants to raise all sorts of ​taxes and fees--even above the TRIM limit. 

And his plan would most adversely affect low and middle income residents and senior citizens who already bear a higher tax burden than most residents of most nearby jurisdictions.

Also, note that even though he seems to be proud of his proposed tax-increasing budget, the fine print at the end contains a threat:
any dissemination, distribution, copying, or action taken in relation to the contents of and attachments to this E-mail is strictly prohibited by federal law and may expose you to civil and/or criminal penalties.


For immediate release:
March 13, 2015

For constituent communication concerning proposed budget:
Phone: 3-1-1 (M-F 7am-7pm)

Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III Presents FY 2016 Budget

Upper Marlboro, MD -  Today, Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III in accordance with the Prince George's County Charter presented his FY 2016 Proposed Operating and Capital Budgets.  The Proposed FY 2016 Budget for all funds is $3.63 billion, an increase of $197 million or 6% over FY 2015.  The General Fund accounts for 84% of all spending in FY 2016 and will increase by $182.3 million, or 6%. County source revenues increase by $180.6 million or 11%.  The growth is primarily due to proposed rate increases to the real property, personal property, telecommunications and hotel tax rates which results in increased funding to education and public safety priorities. 

"As we all know, education and public safety are the two key quality of life issues that attract people to live in any jurisdiction and the most sought after counties in this region, this state, and this nation are the ones that are safe and have the best public education systems," said Prince George's County Rushern L. Baker, III. "Our continued growth and success rely heavily upon the perception that our streets and neighborhoods are safe and that our school system is improving and can compete with neighboring jurisdictions.  The proposed FY 2016 budget shows that Prince George's County is serious about education and we understand that a great school system is the most important investment that this generation can do for our children."

The proposed budget is premised on achieving three primary objectives: (1) achieving academic improvements in K-12 education across all public schools, (2) maintaining the County's commitment to providing a full range of public services and (3) ensuring our long-term financial integrity.  With these objectives as the foundation, the FY 2016 presented fiscal plan has a combination of spending increases and reductions which include revenue provisions. To watch the Proposed FY 2016 Budget presentation and for more resources and information please go to http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/sites/OMB/Resources/Bgt16/Pages/default.aspx.  

The proposed FY 2016 operating budget includes the financial resources necessary to support higher educational achievement.  The outcome of this investment will be a County school system that will be most noted for rapidly improving its schools by implementing high quality educational programs and academic rigor for all students.  Additionally, the proposed budget for FY 2016 builds upon the many successes the County has achieved in making our communities and neighborhoods safer.  The respective budgets for Public Safety agencies and Courts provide the resources necessary to protect County residents and businesses, and continue the high caliber of performance attained during the first term of the Baker Administration. 

In FY 2016, real property tax receipts are projected to total $776.5 million, an increase of $127.0 million or 19.6% over the FY 2015 budget. The growth is primarily due to the FY 2016 education revenue package which recommends a $0.15 increase in the real property tax rate from $0.96 to $1.11 per $100 of assessable value in FY 2016.    The County is authorized to increase the real property tax rate based on Chapter 6 of the 2012 Laws of Maryland (Senate Bill 848).  This law allows the County's property tax rate to be set higher than the rate authorized under the County's charter.  The bill requires that any additional revenue generated as a result of the higher property tax rate is for the sole purpose of funding the approved budget of the local school system.  The proposed rate adjustment is expected to generate an additional $104.9 million for the school system.  Excluding the additional revenue assigned to the system, the County's real property tax revenues are projected to increase by $22.1 million or 3.4% in FY 2016 from the FY 2015 budget.

To mitigate the impact of the proposed real property tax increase, the County will offer a local Homeowners' Tax Credit Program in FY 2016.  The Homeowners' Tax Credit Program will be supplemental to the State's property tax relief program that allows a property tax credit for households whose total gross income is $60,000 and below. The County's supplemental tax credit will equal 25% of the State's homeowners' tax credit amount.  On an individual basis, on average, the estimated supplemental credit equates to an additional $375 annual benefit to homeowners.  To view a chart that explains the Homeowners' Tax Credit Program, please click here.

Similarly, the FY 2016 proposed budget continues efforts to improve the health and well-being of County residents.  The respective budgets for the human services agencies provide for continued support of their delivery systems which result in better access to care and services for our residents in need.  In particular, it provides additional resources to assist vulnerable populations, such as our veterans, and to improve our response to domestic violence.  In addition, the FY 2016 proposed budget maintains the commitment to grow our economy by expanding our commercial tax base and creating jobs.  Supporting this effort are the budgets for the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, Prince George's Community College, and funding for the Economic Development Incentive Fund.
"The FY 2016 proposed operating budget provides a framework for propelling the County into new heights and structurally rebalancing our budget," added County Executive Baker.  "The proposed measures are bold yet necessary in order to ensure the fiscal health and future of our County. These proposed actions require sacrifices by everyone – residents, businesses and county employees.  However, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to transforming this County into a premier and nationally recognized jurisdiction."

The FY 2016 proposed budget includes the following:
·           An education revenue package which allows the County to make a historic investment in the Prince George's County Public School System.   With this proposal, the County will invest an additional $135.7 million in the school system. The education proposal is funded through increases in the real property, personal property and telecommunications tax rates. The additional revenue generated from the rate increases will be dedicated to the Board of Education in order to directly assist in boosting student achievement through expanding effective programs.
·           An increase in the hotel tax from 5% to 7% - a rate that recognizes our growing travel and tourism industry and will be comparable to our neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland.  This is estimated to generate approximately $3.1 million in additional revenue.
·           An increase in various building, licensing and related permitting and technology fees, to allow the County to continue its significant investments and commitments of improving customer service and support technology upgrades at the one-stop shop within the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement.
·           Implementation of a Reduction In Force (RIF) of 110 filled positions in the General Fund.
·           Five day furlough of all County employees funded through the General Fund.
·           Furthermore, to assist in maintaining the County's 'AAA' bond rating, the FY 2016 proposed budget is based on conservative estimates and avoidance of using fund balance for ongoing expenditures to preserve the County's General Fund reserves – Charter-mandated 5% and the financial policy-required 2%

Adhering to the Prince George's County Charter, the FY 2016 Proposed Budget must be submitted by March 13, 2015 to the Prince George's County Council. The Council must adopt the FY 2016 Proposed Budget on or before June 1, 2015.

This E-mail and any of its attachments may contain Prince George's County Government or Prince George's County 7th Judicial Circuit Court proprietary information or Protected Health Information, which is privileged and confidential. This E-mail is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient of this E-mail, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying, or action taken in relation to the contents of and attachments to this E-mail is strictly prohibited by federal law and may expose you to civil and/or criminal penalties. If you have received this E-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the original and any copy of this E-mail and any printout.

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