Prince George’s Business Groups Offer Alternative Tax Proposal to Fund Education

A group of Prince George’s County business leaders have proposed increasing the county property tax by 8 cents instead of the 15 cents proposed by County Executive Baker in his FY 2016 budget. While supportive of increasing funds for education, the business leaders think an increase of 15 cents is to just way too much.

As reported by the Washington Post,

“By 2020, the County Executive’s proposal aspires to be a top-ten system…” the chamber said in a statement. “These are laudable goals that could be attained without such high tax increases.” The Chamber released its proposal on Monday.

Raising property taxes by 7.8 percent — or from $0.96 per $100 of assessed value to $1.03 per every $100 — would generate about $64 million in revenue for Prince George’s schools, the chamber calculated.

…“Even these [proposed tax hikes] are painful,” Harrington said, adding that his organization presented its plans to both the executive and legislative branches. “But we acknowledge the need to invest in our children.”

The 15 cent property tax increase proposed by the County Executive would yield $133 million for the county school system. While the County Executive has indicated a willingness to compromise, he also stated that less revenue “would not yield the desired transformation he seeks.”

Baker’s budget administrator, Thomas Himler, said the county executive has received but not yet reviewed the chamber’s proposal. He cautioned that any reduction in the proposed tax rate would “be scaling back the progress we think we can achieve … If it’s half, then we’ll only be able to do half as much.”

The County Council has not yet taken action on the proposed budget plan.  However, the Council must pass a balanced budget by June 1.

Additional information and previous coverage of County Executive Leggett’s  proposed FY 2016 budget can be found on the county’s website and Conduit Street.

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