Prince George’s Budget Battle Comes To An End

As reported by the Washington Post, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has announced he will accept the fiscal 2016 budget as approved by the County Council and not challenge it in court.  From the article,

In a statement, Baker said he decided to put the interests of county residents “ahead of a lengthy and divisive legal process” surrounding a section of county law that he and the council interpreted differently.

The litigation would have fostered “uncertainty and disharmony,” the statement said.

At issue was whether the county council was prohibited from adjusting the proposed budget by more than 1 percent. Through their budget actions and override of the County Executive’s veto, the county council cut the proposed budget by more than 1 percent, an action the County Executive claimed they could not do.

The council rejected Baker’s proposal for a 15-percent hike in the property tax rate to generate more funds for public schools. Baker then vetoed parts of the budget passed by the council, demanding a tax rate hike of 11.45 percent. But the council overrode that veto and stuck with a 4-percent property tax rate hike — the first in Prince George’s in more than three decades — and a 1.5-cent increase in the park and planning tax.

Previous coverage can be found on Conduit Street.