Based on the information only Salisbury News delivered on House Bill 1412 your beloved Governor, Delegate Norm Conway and others are BLACKMAILING Counties throughout Maryland to meet Maintenance of Effort with the Board of Education OR in Wicomico County's case be fined $14,000,000.00, in which the state would remove the proper funding to fully finance the BOE by taking those funds immediately out of the County's income taxes.
Now, there's no guarantee that by raising the income tax rate to 3.2% that the state will accept those funds as they are saying the legislation is retroactive, but there's hope it will work.
According to Mr. Pollitt, (in which he is correct)"the timing is critical" Councilman Bob Culver said, "this is legislative blackmail."
Mr. Pollitt went on to say that he doesn't think there's any doubt this is heading to court. In other words, the County will more than likely have to sue the state. The state is proving, (once again) its power over each County, similar to the Highway User Tax Funds that the state robbed years ago from the County.
Again, Salisbury News was the very first in the state to break the news on this legislation and we warned you it was coming. Today simply proved we were not only right, unfortunately the County, (you taxpayers) WILL be forced into paying more income tax to fund the Board of Education.
Rick Pollitt stated at one point that this is what elected officials do. They support the Board of Education when they run for office and in some cases pay MORE money above and beyond maintenance of effort to show their support. However, Council President Joe Holloway immediately stated, that's what got us into this mess, because we paid too much into it and the state can see we CAN do it.
He went on to say this emergency legislation takes away any incentive to ever consider doing more for the BOE down the road.
County Executive Rick Pollitt closed with this statement. We can't meet the $14,000,000.00 without shutting down the Sheriff's Department.
Some have wondered if this increase includes a property tax increase. The answer to that is NO. This is strictly based on an increase to your income tax. In my honest opinion, better they go after your INCOME than try playing the game with your property tax. What I mean by that is, (to me, anyway) your property values aren't expected to go UP in many years and its easier for them to go after your income instead.
In closing, Bob Culver threw out a very interesting question. He said, If we were to dissolve the County Council and let the state take over, what would happen. Wayne Strausburg replied, a bankruptcy appointee would come in and evaluate the dealings of Wicomico County. In other words, the County would go bankrupt.
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