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.]
The County Council has raised taxes, overspent the budget and failed to grow new jobs locally. Montgomery County lost jobs while everyone around us was gaining them.
The pace and scale of property-tax increases over the last decade in Montgomery County are overwhelming. Since 1990, residential property taxes here have grown more than twice as fast as the state’s median household income. Residential property taxes now eat up an average of 6.4 percent of a typical household income in Montgomery County. In 1990, that share was 3.6 percent. In this growing bite of household income lies the pain currently felt by homeowners, whose family budgets have been thrown into disarray.
Montgomery County taxpayers are paying more for schools which are below historic standards, roads which are more congested, and services which are stretched to the point of breaking. What are we paying for?
More often than not, when citizens talk about cutting taxes, some Councilmembers argue, “but how are we going to pay for services…” This is a narrow-minded answer to a reasonable question. We don’t have to cut services in order to roll back the recent tax increases. In most municipalities, taxable revenue is based on a 60/40 split. Communities often receive 60 percent of their budgetary revenue from residential property taxes and 40 percent from commercial or business-based taxes.
However, in Montgomery County, that taxable revenue is based on an 80/20 split. That is, a whopping 80 percent of our taxable revenue comes from residential properties and only 20 percent from commercial properties.
In the past three years, Germantown has lost over 1,200 jobs, while a disproportionately high number of women in Montgomery Village have lost jobs in the same time frame. Property tax increases, an anti-business climate, excessive regulations and gridlock have harmed families.
Our families are bearing the burden of Montgomery County government’s entire budget on their backs. Property taxes have become a second mortgage that homeowners can never pay off – and an endless expense that grows more costly each year. When I was growing up, the family home was a retirement asset; now it’s a county tax asset. My strategy focuses on building our commercial tax base by growing businesses so that we can reduce the weight of residential property taxes.
Dr. Tom Ferleman is a Republican candidate for Montgomery County Council in District 2.