Should I Stay or Should I Go
Run! Run as fast as you can from Montgomery County. Here is why. The Democratic County Council is in the early stages of imposing a massive real property tax hike to add other taxes on you for the privilege of living in a deteriorating county.
Today, the County council will hold the last two of five public hearings. The hearings are on the Montgomery County operating budget for 2017. One of the major components of the hearings is that the property tax will be increased by 8.7 percent. Despite the fact that county residents in 2008 passed the Ficker amendment. Currently, the Ficker amendment “requires all nine members of the County Council to approve a budget that exceeds the county’s charter limit on property tax collections, which ties budget growth to the rate of inflation. For example, the operating county budget for 2015 was increased by 3.3 percent; for 2016 it was increased by 1.7 percent. Despite the fact that the inflation rate in 2013 was 1.5 percent; in 2014 was 1.6 percent; and in 2015 only 0.1 percent. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve there currently is no inflation. For this same reason, Social Security and disability recipients did not receive an annual cost of living adjustment in their fixed income for 2016 in accordance with the Federal law.
Despite the conclusions by the Federal Government that there currently is no inflation, Montgomery County government increased salary of local government employees by 2 percent and more as a cost of living adjustment In March of 2016, the County Executive stated during his press conference that despite, a major slowdown in global, national and local economy, County elected officials have developed a hyper inflated appetite for more spending. They have established new programs and expanded old programs such as: Child care subsidy programs but this program is not available for middle class people; Working Families Income Supplement Amount (WFIS); etc.
The social and economic county conditions are rapidly deteriorating despite the fact the state pours a record amount of funding into Montgomery and Prince Georges’ counties. Here are just some brief highlights of counties radical changes.
Traffic and Roads
The roads are less safe due to Councilmember Berliner Bill 33-13. The County Council now wants to push their radical unsafe Bill 33-13 to the state level (more on Bill 33-13) The County Council even opened a brand new program “Vision Zero” on taxpayers expense to push Bill 33-13 further. Moreover, County Executive Leggett plans on creating more congestion through public mass transit, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System. This is what the future mass transit BRT will look like- BRT buses will move through already congested county roads. In some cases, the bus lanes will be built in medians, but in most cases existing traffic lanes will be lost to BRT use only (like HOV lanes). But the BRT will have no parking for commuters and rely instead on Ride-on feeder buses. Blair Lee, former columnist for the Gazette newspaper, observed the typical BRT experience, “I wait in the rain outside my home for a feeder bus to take me to a BRT depot that lacks any parking. I board the BRT bus which drops me off eight blocks from my workplace so I wait for a local bus (it’s still raining) to get me there. After work, it’s the same process, in reverse. You call this “improved mobility”, I call it waiting for three buses.” Even that assessment charitably assumes walking access to the Ride-on buses at both ends of the trip. And county leaders want to add into this mix, bikes lines as per Berliner Bill 33-13. Leggett, plans to build BRT on the back of rural Marylanders as it stated in the House Bill HB1013 that was passed by Democratic Delegates without debates or public hearings. Gov. Hogan vetoed it but the Delegates expected to override his veto today.
Montgomery County Courts, Crime and Compliance with the Federal laws
According to the Washington Post article apparently local Montgomery County courts where involved in very controversial cases that involved children from the Baltimore City who were effected by lead poisoning and who received settlements. It only came to light because of the famous Freddie Gray case and rare investigative journalist work. Moreover, the County executive refuses to comply with Federal Law to report, illegal immigrants to ICE but instead he came up with his very own Leggett illegal immigration policies. The county schools have unprecedented influx of unaccompanied minors that illegally entered the country escaping South American socio-economic conditions. Upon arriving, the minors place strains on schools and many additional social services. In addition, unrelated to the unaccompanied children, gang violence by MS-13 is on the rise.
Montgomery County Public Schools
Montgomery county Public Schools Montgomery County Public schools are absolutely a disaster:
In 2013, 71 percent of high school students failed final exams in Geometry and 68 percent failed the Algebra 1 final exam. In addition, 37 percent to 50 percent of students failed high school level Biology, English and History exams.
The 2012-2013 school year was not aberration. In 2014, 82 percent of students failed Algebra 1 exam. So, the Board of Education decided to curve the final exams that year on a massive scale by adding 15 percentage point to all grades. In 2015, 74 percent – in other words three out four of students – failed the Algebra 1 final exam.
Interestingly, despite the fact that the fact that a majority of high school students failed the final exams on basic Algebra 1 the high school graduation rate increased. For example, 2009 to 2010 was 86.1 percent in 2012-2013 the rate increased to 88.3 percent despite 71 percent failed Geometry final exam and 68 percent failed Algebra 1.
This summer the President of the Board of Education, Patricia O’Neill was not sure how to solve the problem of failed math final exams. “A lot of effort and analysis has gone into it,” she said. “It’s still a nagging problem. I don’t know totally what the solution is.” In November, the Board of Education figured out how to solve the problem – cancel the tests.
Voters and demographics
There is really nothing for taxpayers to stay in this county besides paying taxes and not enjoying life here. Look around you, common sense voters. The County Council are all Democrats and liberal extremists. They don’t represent common sense or business oriented people. None of them have real life business experience or even education in economics. Most of them are from the Tacoma Park area that is completely different from rural parts of Montgomery County.
When old school voters, regardless of the party affiliation and race, raise their concern about the direction the county is going, they quickly get labeled as racists or rich or both. Even though, Montgomery County is very diverse. On October 14, 2015, the Census Bureau published new data. According to new estimates the White (Not-Hispanic or Latino) population has been consistently plummeting in Montgomery County from 49 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2014, contrasted with 72 percent in the 1990s . Furthermore, the Montgomery County population has increased to 1,030,447 people. With African-Americans 18.8 percent; Hispanics 18.7 percent; Asians 15.2 percent; Two or more races 3.2 percent; American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 percent; Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander 0.1 percent and White alone (not Hispanic or Latino) 46 percent that brings to 102.7 percent total pollution in Montgomery County. Females make 51.8 percent of entire Montgomery County population.
The Montgomery County Public School system population is even more diverse: the number of Hispanic 29.1 percent is almost the same as the number of White, 30.2 percent; Africa-American 21.4 percent; Asian 14.2 percent; Mix two or more races 4.9 percent. The minorities are the new majority.
Montgomery County business environment
Hostile! Many local small businesses are shutting their doors. The list of the problems is very long.Despite this shift in demographics the Montgomery County procurement program discriminates against the true minority, white males. White males in Montgomery County no longer have the same opportunity as the majority. The minimum wage requirement puts a major lag on already struggling small businesses. The minimum wage has been increased incrementally. On October 1, 2016 it will be $10.75 per hour and in October 2017 it will go to $11.50 per hour. Moreover, currently, the County Council is pushing for a $15 minimum wage. Effective 2016, small businesses will be required to provide paid and safe time for their employees. To collect more revenue from real estate owners and developers Montgomery County Government has been approving some very controversial development projects, including in environmentally sensitive areas. However, new and existing developments have a hard time to find occupants. Property prices have been falling.
Other taxes to consider on local levels
Montgomery County with over 1 million people has a large incinerator plant that burns municipal garbage and waste. The Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility was built in 1995 and is owned by the by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, a state-owned corporation. Residents are also required to pay an additional tax for the privilege. The “solid waste charge costs about $205 per townhome on average as a part of property taxes. In 1998, then County Council President Leggett (D), now County Executive, justified the burning of trash as a renewable energy and stated, “[w]e was able to look at what was happening around the country, and we realized the trash market was volatile”.
A Montgomery County court found that the rain tax, aka the Water Quality Charge, is invalid. Currently, the Council is massaging the legal language. A new hearing is scheduled for April 26, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.
In addition, Montgomery County imposes a personal income tax of 3.20% and if the income exceeds $300,000 then the county tax gradually increases the tax to 5.75% (2014) in addition to the State and Federal taxes on its residents.
The county council will impose a property tax increase on your property. In fact, they will do away with the Ficker amendment. Currently, a discussion group from MCCPTA Presidents sent out an email to discuss an effort to repeal Ficker’s amendment. The Council already is setting up a hearing on April 26, at 1:30 p.m. for new legislation, Bill 10-16, to defer a new property tax increase for some senior citizens as if it the new property tax increase is already in place. The increase is inevitable because there is no way around to meet a new influx of unaccompanied minors and raising cost of social services. The Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers recently stated, “We are experiencing our eighth straight year of record enrollment growth, adding nearly 19,000 students since 2007. To keep pace, we must expand existing facilities and construct new schools”. The State has already been contributing a record amount of money to the MCPS system.
Montgomery County is deeply in debt. As of 2015, the County’s net direct debt was $3,144,750,000 in the form of outstanding bonds. The bonds “are repaid to bondholders with a series of principal and interest payments over a period of years, known as debt service. In this manner, the initial high cost of capital improvements is absorbed over time and assigned to current and future citizens benefiting from the facilities.” Not only is the debt climbing, but officials use highly overvalued assets $167,311,891,416 to leverage the debt of $3,144,750,000. The county has further obligation in pension funds for government employees.
A tax increase is coming.