One of our local legislators - Norman Conway - (also a retired Wicomico educator) - signed on as one of the bill's co-sponsors.
1/5 of Maryland's counties - now have implemented Revenue Caps as a means of restraining runaway property taxes. Even New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie recognized the significance of VOICE's 2% Revenue Cap ballot initiative and implemented his own Statewide 2% Revenue Cap.
REVENUE CAP HISTORY
Several years ago (1978) Talbot County instituted a Tax Cap after a hugely unacceptable tax increase to Wicomico County incensed the voters to action. From 1978 until 1995 a Coalition of Special Interest Groups - Board of Education, Chamber of Commerce, PTA, NAACP, League of Women Voters, and other individuals sued to overturn the Tax Cap and they won! The Tax Cap was ruled unconstitutional.
Do you think VOICE should have gone for a Tax Cap? That certainly would have been an easy 'kneejerk' thing to do in light of the Court's decision.
After the Tax Cap was ruled unconstitutional in January 1995, The Talbot County Council in May raised the property tax by 46%. That's right they raised the property taxes by almost 50 percent! But they - SPECIAL INTEREST - didn't have enough. The next year, in 1996 they raised it another 46.3%!!! And we - Wicomico residents - think 23.7% was bad. Now let's try and add this up . . . .what's 46.1% and 46.3% over two years. Let's hold the math until the end of this lesson.
The Talbot voters were so incensed they searched for a way to stop these run-a-way politicos and came up with the Revenue Cap concept. The voters rallied to get it on the ballot and it was passed in 1996 by 72.21% of the voters! It stands as law today in that County. Even after six attempts to have it removed - VOICE used the EXACT wording in their petition as was used in Talbot County. It's exactly the same language that is law in Talbot now.
So what have we learned today. Hopefully we've learned that from the time the Tax Cap was ruled unconstitutional and replaced by the Revenue Cap in Talbot County (1995 - 1996) property taxes went up 92.4%! Actually that would not be entirely accurate as I'm told that before the Revenue Cap could become law the actual true tax increase was 113.8%.
The next question is a bit more subjective - after this current events history lesson - is Norman Conway's and Rick Pollitt's staunch reason for objecting to the Revenue Cap - do you now feel the VOICE proposals are obviously not well thought out?
If your property tax increased by 113.8% - would the difference be greater or less than your recent pay raise?
"THOSE WHO IGNORE HISTORY ARE DESTINED TO REPEAT IT"
Call you legislator today and tell them to oppose HB-1412.
If you don't - well - at least you can't say we didn't try and warn you.
Norman Conway - (410) 841-3407
Rudy Cane - (410) 841-3427
Addie Eckardt - (410) 841-3433
Jeannie Haddaway - (410) 841-3429
Mike McDermott - (410) 841-3431
Jim Mathias - (410) 841-3645
Rich Colburn - (410) 841-3590