Paper Recognizes Worcester County Plight, Supports Tax Rate Increase

Worcester County Commissioners recently approved a $165.9 million operating budget for FY 2013, including a 7 cent increase in the property tax rate.  Although the tax rate will increase,  it is still below constant yield and will generate $1.7 million less than the current year due to continued decreasing assessments.

An opinion piece in the Salisbury Daily Times supports the commissioner’s decision, saying “raising the property tax rate was the right thing to do given the circumstances.”

… Passing costs like teacher pensions down to the county level helped balance Maryland’s budget, but it didn’t change the amount of money that was needed to meet the expenses. Individual taxpayers will still have to ante up; instead of sending it to Annapolis, they’ll be paying their own county governments. Problem is, they’re not paying any less to the state.

The state has further hindered county governments by cutting local aid –providing less funding for public education, for example, and requiring counties to pick up the difference. This is in addition to the pension shifts. Since 2008, Worcester has collected $42 million less in state aid and lowered property tax collections combined. That’s a big hit for any local government to absorb.

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