Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Betrayed by County Council on taxes, constituents speak out

The Montgomery County Council is hearing from constituents after voting unanimously to raise the overall tax burden to the highest level in County history last week. Many have taken to Facebook to vent on the councilmembers' pages:

Mark Bickel reminded Councilmember Hans Riemer that Riemer and his Council colleagues will all still receive a "MASSIVE salary increase" of 28% to $136,258 a year, even as they raised taxes and slashed the salary increases of County employees. The latter move led one County union official to call the nine councilmembers "clowns."

Many of those complaining are Democrats, and are warming to Robin Ficker's proposed ballot question on term limits for the Council. "Hans...dude...a 9% increase in property taxes?" wrote Richard Garifo. "Really? I'm blue to the bone but I have GOT to question how this money is being spent. This term-limit thing is looking pretty good right now."

"An 8.7% tax increase is nothing to be proud of. You should be embarrassed," wrote Ed Rothenberg.

Several citizens have asked to see any document that actually formalizes the agreement that the Council and their Board of Education colleagues have boasted they reached with this budget. The drama quickly ended, however, when a Council staff member acknowledged to Louis Wilen that there is no such document that requires Montgomery County Public Schools to reduce class sizes. Whoops! Not surprising, as the Council has no authority to enforce any such actions by MCPS or the BOE.

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