Fiscal Year 2013

Montgomery County has launched the new fiscal year, and the budget is as scary and precarious as ever.

The budget includes a 6% increase over last year’s spending, even though revenues are down.  (Surprised?).

There’s money in the budget for more buildings at Montgomery College, recreation centers, and twenty new schools (twenty?).  Disturbingly, the budget also calls for expenditures to alter the southern entrance to the Bethesda Metro station.  That expenditure isn’t being made because there’s anything wrong with the entrance, but rather to facilitate the Purple Line.  The Purple Line isn’t coming soon (if ever); why spend this money in vain?  At least wait until the funding for the Purple Line is secure.

This all means new borrowing, when the county is already laying out over $300 million annually to cover existing debts.

How to pay for all this?  The despised energy tax increase was cemented permanently into place.  That measure initially jacked up the taxes by 155%, but was sold to the public as being “temporary” (again — surprised?).   An energy tax is a regressive tax, because it takes a larger proportion of income from the poor than from the wealthy.   That’s an inconvenience for some people, but likely a health hazard for the elderly and lower-income populations, who will have to turn down the air conditioning at a time of record heat.  And, of course, the weighted property tax rate goes up almost 5%.

 

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Explore posts in the same categories: Budget and Taxes, The War on the Poor, Transportation

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