Prince George’s Budget Heading For Legal Showdown

The Prince George’s County budget for FY 2016 appears to be headed for a legal showdown, as County Executive Rushern Baker III has announced plans to veto significant actions taken by the County Council. In doing so, he defends his initial proposal to substantially increase public school funding, and cites a legal provision limiting the Council’s authority to dramatically alter the revenue side of the county fiscal plan.

From coverage in the Washington Post:

Repeating an assertion made by his aides last week, Baker said the council acted illegally when it cut much of his proposed 15-cent property tax hike.

Baker said the council cannot adjust his budget proposal up or down by more than 1 percent — an interpretation of county law that the council chairman, Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro), and others strongly dispute.

Franklin would not say Monday whether the nine-member council would try to marshal the six votes necessary to override the vetoes.

An override would mean the council would again cut Baker’s spending proposal by more than 1 percent, a move that Baker said would make the budget vulnerable to legal challenge.

In a statement, the council called Baker’s veto “an attempt to force the County Council to impose a double-digit tax increase on the working families and businesses of our County.”

Read the full Post article online.

Update: The Prince George’s County Council voted Tuesday to override budget vetoes handed down by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, as reported by the Post.

Read more about the update from the Post online.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties