By Dr. Tom Ferleman.
[Editor’s note: Seventh State is pleased to present guest blogs from candidates for office. The views here are those of the candidate and not of David Lublin or Adam Pagnucco.]
For a decade or so, I’ve grown increasingly concerned for our community. Every morning, thousands of people crawl down I-270 for jobs in Virginia and D.C., jobs that were once in Montgomery County. Those jobs aren’t here anymore. They’ve migrated mostly to Northern Virginia. A commute that should take only 30 minutes now can take upwards of two hours.
Indeed, every jurisdiction surrounding Montgomery County, with the exception of Prince Georges County, has added jobs over the last ten years. Montgomery County, according to the County’s own Planning Department’s analysis of 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, has lost almost 3,000 jobs.
While 3,000 jobs lost may not seem like a lot over ten years, compare that figure to the average number of jobs gained by the five surrounding jurisdictions over the same ten years. That number is 34,274; an average gain of 34,000 jobs including Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Howard counties and the District of Colombia.
Since August 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported a rapid decline in employment and wages in Montgomery County. According to the data, Montgomery County lost more jobs from August 2013 to 2016 (an estimated 1,250 jobs) than it did during the Sub-Prime Mortgage Collapse leading to the Great Recession (an estimated 1,000).
Not only has Montgomery County lost jobs, clearly our current elected officials haven’t done much to attract new jobs either. Perhaps it has something to do with the anti-business ideology enacted by the County Council over the last decade?
The County showed just 1.1 percent job growth from 2015 to 2016 — the lowest of all area counties.
And how does the County Council respond? What do they do when thousands of jobs are lost across the County? They raise property taxes a dramatic nine percent last year, followed by another three percent increase this year.
As if that’s not enough, they increased the Recordation Tax; that’s a tax on buying and selling your home. And now they’re trying to do it again this year. Who does that? The last thing you do when people are struggling is to take more money from them.
I will return homeownership to its rightful place as a family investment asset. I will work to reduce traffic congestion in order to return precious hours in the day to local families and I will fight to #BringJobsHome so that we can boost economic development and establish a work-where-you-live culture in our community.
Dr. Tom Ferleman is a Republican candidate for Montgomery County Council in District 2.