Of Elitism, Entitlement and Term Limits
Montgomery County citizens, outraged by the recent Memorial Day Mischief of the county council, have begun an effort to impose term limits on the county’s elected officials. In case you forgot, here was the straw that broke the back of many county voters as documented by our Jerry Rogers:
The Montgomery County Council gave final approval Thursday to a $5.3 billion budget that included a massive property-tax increase. The tax increase—the largest, most regressive tax hike in seven years—was ratified by the Democratic-only Council in a 9 – 0 vote. The budget, which takes effect July 1, includes a nearly 9 percent boost in property taxes that will add $326 to the average residential tax bill.
The Council took only 30 minutes to pass the property tax increase. There was no discussion, no debate, no dissent. “We made all our speeches last week,” said Council President Nancy Floreen (D-At Large). In great haste on the “get away” day before the Memorial Day weekend, the Council unanimously—without deliberation or public input—passed the largest tax increase in almost a decade.
Council President Nancy Floreen had called the budget process “unprecedented” due to the enormous property tax increase which required a 9-0 council vote because it surpassed the county’s inflation-based charter limit. However, the tax hike—the “unprecedented” tax hike by Ms. Floreen’s own admission—did not deserve a public discussion or a say from the very people the Council is taxing.
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Now, as citizens of Montgomery County reach the July 4th mark of their summer of discontent, one county official is insulting county citizens and calling the effort at term limits “a dumb, unnecessary protest gesture.” Bethesda Magazine chronicled the Twitter tirade of Councilmember George Leventhal:
This is ranting of an entitled, elitist politician who feels he is above being held accountable for an outrageous tax increase passed in the most disingenous way possible. This type of government is the direct result of one-party politics coupled with partisan gerrymandering. Politicians achieve and keep office without regard to how their policies are negatively affecting the citizens of their county.
While term limits are not a panacea, there are a reasonable measure to push back on a government that has become so warped. At least eliminating lifetime offices and forcing some turnover, described as “rare” even by Bethesda Magazine, and open elections where, perhaps some real accountability from the voters can enter into the equation.
For those who live in Montgomery County, please do what you can to support this effort and send a message, at least, that county politicians cannot act with impunity.