Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Montgomery County Council stealing money from senior citizens via "tax credit"

Montgomery County falsely asserts that its proposed FY-2018 budget "holds the line on taxes," and reduces the property tax rate "by 2.5 cents." In reality, homeowners will pay more in property taxes, due to rising assessments. That's not the only doublespeak in the budget. Olney resident Louis Wilen has done the math, and found that the theoretically-generous Homeowners Tax Credit of $692 actually raises the tax bills of senior citizens over 65 who make less than $60,000 a year.

Worksheet by Louis Wilen showing
comparison of issuance of $692 flat credit
versus non-issuance of $692 flat credit
(click to enlarge for greater detail)
Seniors aren't aware of this, Wilen says, because the Homeowners Tax Credit worksheet is not usually provided to homeowners, meaning that the tax credit calculation is hidden from them. For those seniors under the $60,000 income level, that calculation turns the $692 tax credit into a $346 tax increase. Wilen will ask the Council at tonight's budget public hearing to replace the flat $692 credit with a decrease in the property tax rate, to solve the problem for the affected seniors.

Wilen's finding fits a long-time pattern of this County Council, which has a history of imposing flat taxes and fees that hit residents with low or fixed incomes hard countywide. Taking advantage of senior citizens won't help the Council erase the severe trust deficit it has with its constituents, which led to overwhelming passage of term limits last November.

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