Caroline County- “Fixing the State’s Budget Should Not Fall on Counties”

On Thursday, Caroline County Commissioners held a press conference in response to the Governor’s proposed pension shift that would cost the county $1.4 million in the next fiscal year. Caroline County Commissioners were joined by representatives of the county Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools, and other county agencies, all of whom would be negatively impacted the shift. The Star Democrat (limited free views) reports:

In Caroline, the budget has been cut by $6 million, or 13 percent, over the last five years to balance it, while state spending has increased in that same time frame.

To absorb the proposed pension cost shift, Porter said the county property tax rate would have to increase by 8 cents per $100 of assessed value, a 10 percent hike.

“Let me say that again a 10 percent tax increase,” Porter said. “And you won’t even see a bit of increased services in exchange.”

Porter said the new costs will have a serious negative impact on funding for services like recreation and parks, law enforcement and emergency medical services, and funding for county partners, like the public library, volunteer fire companies and transportation.

It is unfair to put the state’s problems on those who had no hand in creating them, Porter said.

While the state has directly funded local school systems in its budget, the proposed shift will make it impossible for local governments to do so, Caroline County Board of Education President Sandra Barry said.

She said many of the school systems’ partners, including the county recreation and parks department and public libraries, will also lose funding if the shift goes through.

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