(9/10) Well, Commissioners Shoemaker and Howard are at it again. When their liberal tendencies to tax and spend are exposed, they name call and try to change the subject to divert attention from the real issues. Several days ago, after months of effort I was able to get a board vote on protecting citizens’ residential property taxes from rising quickly once inflation kicks in and assessments
begin to rise. The Homestead Tax Revenue Cap proposal simply reduces from 5% to 3% the annual rate that government property tax revenues may increase on rising assessments.
This is just one of many tax reduction ideas that Shoemaker and Howard rejected. Yet, I stood next to someone at the polls who touted Shoemaker as a Delegate Candidate who actually cut taxes. I can assure you it was only with kicking and screaming that he and Howard agreed to cut taxes, and it wasn’t the 5 cents I suggested. Watch that first budget session on the county website. You will see
that I brought up the subject of a 5-cent tax reduction over and over again until my four colleagues finally relented and put in a 2-cent cut. Even with the accumulated 3 1/4 cent tax reductions that have passed since then, the county has collected $14 - $16 million dollars in surpluses each year. Additionally, under Julia Gouge, several agencies were given the open door to hold onto their annual
surpluses instead of return unspent tax dollars to the county general funds. Those agencies are sitting on another $14 – $16 million in their own savings accounts. What these recurring surpluses tell us is that a 5-cent tax reduction is affordable leaving the county with a 10 to 12 million dollar surplus instead. Howard and Shoemaker are not satisfied with that.
I suggested eliminating the Hotel tax, a new tax implemented by Commissioners Gouge and Minnick. Howard and Shoemaker voted No. I moved to lower amusement taxes to less than 10%. Howard and Shoemaker voted No. I testified in Annapolis for legislation that would allow us to give businesses relief from personal property taxes; a tax reduction Howard and Shoemaker whittled down to a quarter of a
cent, hardly the amount I suggested which might actually have been a help to businesses in Carroll.
You might recall Gouge spending all the increased revenues the last time assessments soared. Like Gouge, Howard and Shoemaker are big spenders. When Howard and Shoemaker wanted to settle the Incinerator contract "for expediency" by spending $3 million of the citizens’ dollars, Commissioner Rothschild and I vehemently opposed, knowing the county had leverage to negotiate a lower buy-out. Roush
agreed and we saved the tax payers nearly $2 million dollars.
Commissioners Howard and Shoemaker are so anxious to spend your hard earned-dollars that they practically shove money down the throats of agencies who are not even asking for it. Watch the video on December 20, 2012 where Mr. O Neal states that the Board of Education has a program for school security and he is not asking for any funds from the county. Howard says, "Well you would take the
money if we give it to you, right?" Shoemaker and Howard vote yes, Frazier votes no and caching, caching, $300,000.00 was plopped in the laps of the Board of Education.
Howard and Shoemaker voted to spend $600,000.00 of the county surplus for security cameras for the Community College even though the College did not ask for it, nor has there been a crime problem in the parking lots. The College holds a surplus of $2.5 million. They could have paid for this project if they deemed it necessary. Caching, caching, another expenditure Howard and Shoemaker thrust
upon an agency, which I voted against.
These expenditures alone equal the "lost revenue" Howard and Shoemaker are worried about losing in future projected revenues if the county decides to be pro-active, and lower the Homestead Tax Revenue Cap to 3% before inflation kicks in. Tax and spend officials like Gouge, Howard and Shoemaker will pick any excuse not to slow down the projected revenue stream or cut taxes.
What’s lame is ducking your responsibility to protect the taxpayers.