On Monday night, the Anne Arundel County Council voted to temporarily reduce the county income tax rate, against the objection of the County Executive, John Leopold. In a story from the Baltimore Sun, the council voted 5-2 to lower the rate from 2.56 to 2.50 for a year, which will save taxpayers a total of about $8 million. Just last month, the council passed the county’s budget for FY 2012 that included a property tax increase, an action supported by the County Executive and budget team. The latest action by the council could have dire effects on labor negotiations, state funding and the county’s bond rating, states Leopold.
“This pernicious, fiscally irresponsible action could have serious adverse consequences for our county,” said Leopold, who added that the county is expecting to be short $32 million going into the next fiscal year.
The bipartisan measure was introduced by Councilman Daryl Jones, a Democrat from Severn, and Jerry Walker, a Republican from Edgewater. Walker said a break for county taxpayers was the “responsible thing to do.”
Craig Oldershaw, president of the county’s firefighters union, argued against the tax cut, saying the drop in revenue it would create would ultimately be balanced through employee and benefits cuts to county employees.