Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Thoughts on the Budget Agreement

The Council today reached agreement on a $5.07 billion total County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2016. I voted in opposition. The budget reflects a 1.7 percent increase over the approved budget for FY15. We will formally adopt the FY16 operating budget and amendments to Capital Improvements Program next Thursday. The budget will go into effect on July 1.

While I am pleased that this budget holds the line on property taxes and limits our spending increase to 1.7 percent over last year, I remain deeply troubled by the fuel-energy tax rate. Residents and business owners will remember that we doubled this rate when we were in the throes of the recession. At that time, we promised to eliminate the increase entirely when the economy improved. To date, we have only reduced the increase by 27 percent. For FY16, we did not reduce it at all.

We have been working hard over the past several years to boost our economic development initiatives and bring more jobs, and ultimately more revenue, to Montgomery County. I am very sensitive to the cost of doing business here, and I am not willing to undercut our efforts to improve the local economy with such an onerous fuel-energy tax rate.

I appreciate the work that has gone into this budget but regret that I cannot support it. See the full press release.


Fritz Hirst said...

Good for you for standing your ground on the energy tax! How is the public to have faith in elected officials unless they stay true to thier promises. The energy tax increase was intended to be short-term emergency measure in 2010. It's unfortunate that many of your colleagues have moved the ball on this. It only furthers Montgomery County's high tax and unfriendly-to-business reputation.

HOW -2 DO said...