The Washington Post
About two dozen citizens, including former county executive
Neal Potter (D), showed up at the meeting holding "Tax Cap Now"
"People were shocked when they saw their tax assessments
and now are worried about what their tax bills will be," said French
Caldwell, a Tax Cap Now organizer. "I basically said we really
got to make a strong visual presentation on the council, and we definitely
During the hearing, Marvin Weinman, president of the
Montgomery County Taxpayers League, urged the council to abide by a
voter-imposed cap on property taxes.
In 1990, Montgomery County voters approved a charter
amendment that limits the county to collecting property taxes equal
to the previous year's total plus inflation and the value of new construction.
Seven of nine council members, however, can vote to override that limit,
as they have for the past three years.
Duncan is requesting a 2-cent cut in the property tax
rate for next year, far short of the 7.5-cent cut that would be needed
to abide by the charter
If seven of nine council members accept Duncan's plan,
owners of a $400,000 house in Montgomery would see the tax bill go up
by $310 next year. While several council members have indicated they
want to abide by the charter limit, others say it is nearly impossible
to stick to it this year
This year's tax debate comes less than six months after
voters rejected a referendum, which had been petitioned onto the ballot
by anti-tax activist
But Caldwell is warning county leaders that the anti-tax
movement is priming for another election-season referendum battle next
year unless the charter limit is adhered to this time.
"I will establish a [Political Action Committee]
to raise the money for a petition drive and referendum next year if
the council doesn't show some
There are signs the anti-tax movement has learned from
its mistakes and is becoming more politically savvy. Caldwell said the
next ballot campaign won't be associated with Ficker's name, which opponents
of the referendums have used to try to muddle the
"We are not going to have Robin Ficker's face on this," Caldwell said. "We are going to have the face of people who have been hit by property tax assessments."