Prince George’s Budget Proposal Prioritizes Education

Prince George’s County – annually among the very first to release a proposed budget plan – has done so for Fy 2016, with a major emphasis on investments in education, and narrowing the lingering “achievement gap.” In its FY 2016 budget proposal, the Prince George’s County Executive’s budget relies on a provision of state law that allows property taxes to be raised above the county charter’s limit to pay for increases in education funding. An article from the Washington Post describes, 

Baker’s proposal would fully fund a $1.9 billion spending request from the county schools chief that would significantly increase per-pupil spending in hopes of bridging the gap in academic performance between county students and those in neighboring jurisdictions.

From the budget proposal describes the property tax increase that would be used for education revenues,

Major General Fund revenue highlights include: Property taxes ($855.1 million)

  • Real Property Taxes ($776.5 million) — an increase of $127.0 million or 19.6% primarily due to the FY 2016 education revenue proposal which recommends a $0.15 increase in the real property tax rate from $0.96 to $1.11 per $100 of assessable value in FY 2016. The County is authorized to increase the real property tax rate based on Chapter 6 of the 2012 laws of Maryland (Senate Bill 848). This law allows the County’s property tax rate to be set higher than the rate authorized under the County’s charter. The bill requires that any additional revenue generated as a result of the higher property tax rate is for the sole purpose of funding the approved budget of the local school board. The rate adjustment is expected to generate an additional $104.9 million for the school system.

Senate Bill 848 stated,

Notwithstanding any provision of a county charter that places a limit on that county’s property tax rate or revenues. . . a county governing body may set a property tax rate that is higher than the rate authorized under the county’s charter  or collect more property tax revenues than the revenues authorized under the county’s charter for the sole purpose of funding the approved budget of the county board.

For more information, read the County Executive’s proposed budget here and this article from the Washington Post.