Anne Arundel to Consider Creation of Special Fund for School Construction

As reported by The Capital, Anne Arundel Council Member Jamie Benoit plans to introduce legislation to create a special fund using income tax revenue to fund school construction projects in the county. The fund would first be used to build a 13th high school and then go towards other school maintenance and construction projects.

From the article:

The legislation would dedicate 2.5 percent of income tax revenue for the fund. County Auditor Teresa Sutherland estimates that would bring in $10 million a year. The money would be used to leverage the issuing of bonds.

Revenue placed in the fund would come from an increase in the county’s local income tax.

Benoit said that during council budget deliberations in May he will introduce separate legislation raising the county’s piggyback income tax from 2.56 percent to 2.58 or 2.59. This would mean about $10 or $15 a year more on a taxable annual income of $50,000.

Although not yet introduced, the proposal is already being met with mixed views.

Councilman Jerry Walker, R-Crofton, who has publicly supported building a high school in Crofton, said he would likely vote in favor of Benoit’s bill but is opposed to raising taxes. Walker said an improving economy will provide an increase in revenue.

“It would make sense to have a dedicated fund set aside for infrastructure projects,” Walker said. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t support it.”

Councilman Derek Fink, R-Pasadena, said while building a 13th high school would mean smaller classes sizes, which he supports, he “would never support any type of tax increase to be able to fund that.”

Councilman Daryl Jones, D-Severn, said he has concerns about whether the bill would affect maintenance of effort — the state rule that per-pupil spending cannot be reduced — and how operating costs are funded. He said he wouldn’t vote for the bill unless those concerns are addressed.