More Tax Increases in the Works for Montgomery County Taxpayers
BOTTOM LINE: If you are a Montgomery County taxpayer and you do not want State lawmakers to enact increased taxes and fees on cars and gas for Montgomery County citizens, you need to act immediately (see suggestions below).
WHAT'S HAPPENING: On Thursday, February 13, the Montgomery County Delegation in Annapolis will vote on the Vehicle Registration Surcharge Bill MC303-03. This bill will double-tax only Montgomery County residents (up to $76 per car, per year) to fund transportation projects that have not been approved but which developers support. If the bill is approved-and it seems likely to be-it would go to the Maryland General Assembly, where it would be unlikely to meet any resistance.
SOME FACTS AND FIGURES: This bill is the first in a series of proposed tax increases for these unapproved, developer-friendly transportation projects, which are described under the Go Montgomery Plan. Of the $1 billion in funding being sought for these projects over 10 years, only $66 million comes from developers' payments of impact fees on development, whereas $934 million comes from taxes primarily on County residents.
Even more troublesome than the disproportionate burden on the taxpayer is the fact that the centerpiece of these projects, the Inter-County Connector (ICC), is actually likely to fuel more development and thus increase congestion rather than decrease it. Government studies have shown that the ICC would not reduce traffic on Rte 29, I-270, or the Beltway. In fact, if the ICC is built and development proceeds as the ICC would permit, then the average Beltway speed would drop from 27 mph to 22 mph. And because the ICC would be a limited access highway, studies have shown there would be more travel, not less, on local roads. In essence, taxpayers would be subsidizing development that would reduce their travel times even further, all at a time when funding for critical necessities such as schools, fire stations, and libraries is running short.
Real, and much cheaper, solutions to congestion abound. These include improving local roads; building the Corridor Cities Light Rail project, which would connect Clarksburg with Shady Grove Metro via Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Rockville; and building the Inner Purple line, which would connect Silver Spring to Bethesda. (See Web links below for more information.)
WHAT YOU CAN DO: E-mail the Montgomery County Delegation (addresses below) and ask them to reject Bill MC303-03 - Vehicle Registration Surcharge. Time is of the essence so please ACT NOW. You may want to copy the suggested message below. If you have time, also email the Montgomery County Council (addresses below), which is expected to endorse the bill when the Delegation consults with them this week.
ALSO, PLEASE HELP GET THE WORD OUT: Most residents are not aware of these pending tax increases. Give them a chance to make their voices heard. FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO AS MANY MONTGOMERY COUNTY TAXPAYERS AS YOU CAN. Become a part of this grass-roots effort today!
SAMPLE E-MAIL MESSAGE TO STATE DELEGATES Montgomery County Delegates: I am a Montgomery County taxpayer, and I am writing to urge you to reject the Vehicle Registration Surcharge Bill MC303-03. I believe that there are better ways to address transportation issues than the costly new roads that this fee will support. [Be sure to add your name and address.]
MONTGOMERY COUNTY'S STATE DELEGATES
MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
Main number: 240-777-7900
Nancy Floreen, Councilmember.Floreen@co.mo.md.us
George Leventhal, Councilmember.Leventhal@co.mo.md.us
Steve Silverman, Councilmember.Silverman@co.mo.md.us
Michael L. Subin, County.Council@co.mo.md.us
Howard A. Denis, Councilmember.Denis@co.mo.md.us
Mike Knapp, Councilmember.Knapp@co.mo.md.us
Phil Andrews, Councilmember.Andrews@co.mo.md.us
Marilyn J. Praisner, Councilmember.Praisner@co.mo.md.us
Tom Perez, Councilmember.Perez@co.mo.md.us
MORE INFORMATION: For information on how the proposed tax increases will speed development instead of relieving congestion, visit Neighbors for a Better Montgomery at www.neighborspac.org.
For information on the status of the bill, go to www.solutionsnotsprawl.org or http://www.montgomerycountydelegation.com .
To see the tax increases proposed in the Go Montgomery Plan, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ and click on the Go Montgomery Transportation Initiative