The following was received by Dave Schwartz, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Maryland:
Grassroots free-market group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was happy to see the Harford County Council provide tax relief to the property owners of Harford County on Friday evening. By a unanimous vote, the Council decided to cut the proposed property tax rate.
“The Council members deserve praise,” said Dave Schwartz, state director of AFP-Maryland. “The Council realized that Harford citizens’ homes are not permanent piggy banks. Unlike many of our state and national legislators, they understand while taxpayers are trimming their budgets during the recession, the government needs to do the same.”
AFP worked extensively with the “Harford Property Tax Revolt” coalition to push for the Council and County Executive David Craig to adopt the “constant yield” property tax rate. “Constant yield” is the rate at which the county government would have collected the same amount of taxes as the previous fiscal year.
“We hope that this tax cut is the beginning of a larger tax relief effort in Harford County. While County Executive Craig deserves credit for a slimmer budget and the Council deserves credit for cutting the rate, we would like to see the county go further in FY 2011.”
AFP is a national organization with state-based chapters committed to educating citizens about the benefits of living in a society with a limited government and a free market, and mobilizing those citizens to become advocates in the public policy process.
AFP-Maryland has over 5,000 members statewide and recently started a local chapter in Harford County.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best safeguard to ensuring individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens in support of restraining state and federal government growth, and returning government to its constitutional limits. For more information, visit www.afpmaryland.com.
Mr. Schwartz is just trying to justify hisa job..Mr. Leroy Whitely and his group put this into action over the past year. The AFP-MD had little to do with this effort.
As a newly minted member of Americans for Prosperity, I take offense to your suggestion that AFP-MD had nothing to do with this. I attended both the protest on May 19th and the two hearings. This was a true team effort, and I am proud of all who were involved to cut the tax.
Informed Voter says
Leroy has been doing a lot, but the protest and rumors of referendum were done in coordination with Dave Schwartz. Does it really matter who gets the credit? They both jumped in on the right ship to keep tax rates lower (we can bring the bar down some more too on income taxes!). Way to go guys!
Well, the ripple effect was never considered. Due to the property tax cut, that money was then cut elsewhere ……. our Public Library System felt the hit Friday evening as well. The Board of Trustees were told they needed to cut an additional $800,000 from their budget. Translation – layoffs and possible closure of some of our community branches. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay my taxes and keep the libraries in our community so that my children and all of your children can have the necessary tools to further their education.
I’m sorry but the County Council just crumbled under pressure without thinking how that could potentially affect the entire county. WE have more than 254 people in this county and just because those individuals protested, doesn’t mean that everyone in the country felt the same way.
Instead of repaving MD Rte. 152 AGAIN …… maybe some of that $800,000 that our libraries are forced to swallow should come from that stimulus package. I’d rather have books for my children to read than to have yet again MD Rte. 152 repaved.
The county council didn’t “crumble”. They recognized that while the recession has forced us to think about each and every spending item with our families, so must Harford County. I believe there was a budget item for a new turf field costing a million dollars. That may be a good idea when the times are good, but not during a recession. The Council did the right thing!
That turf field was also to be in the lower part of the county, making it easier to cut. They had no problem contributing to the fields at North Harford, Cedar Lane, Fallston Rec complex and now Hickory…
Listen to the people…we spoke…the spending must stop here locally, statewide and all through the United States. There is a big difference between WANT and NEED!!!!!!!!. My hat is off to the council…GOOD JOB!!!!! If Americans continue to keep the pressure on the government and they realize we mean business then just maybe the America we read about some 230 years ago will return. The US Constitution along with The Declaration of Independance is a good place to start. This is a wake up call to all Americans…..Study these documents and realize what your liberties are. Then maybe you will realize how far we have strayed, This is only the beginning of great things to come for this country.
IF YOU DO NOT STAND FOR SOMETHING… THEN YOU STAND FOR NOTHING!
Visit http://www.freedompug.com for a great book about to hit the market. Also any comments can be forwareded to this site. Thanks
Roy Whiteley says
It bothers us to hear folks arguing over who is doing what to try to give property taxpayers much deserved relief. We are NOT credit seekers.A number of organizations have joined toghter in this effort. AFP (Dave Schwartz & Joan Ryder locally)plus many of their 14 MD. chapters, Bel Air TEA Party Patriots (Tony Passaro), Rt 40 Rebulicans (Steve Wright), Campaign 4 Liberty (Dave Pridgeon) Patrick Mcgrady, County Executive Craig, Council President Billy Boniface and the Council (to name a few) have all joined in throughout the past couple of years. It has been a welcomed coalition that this individual helped wage with limited help for many years before they all pitched in. We wecome ALL support and we are gaining momentum. Join with us ALL for the benefit of the State and ALL taxpayers. ROY WHITELEY
Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation
516 Walters Mill Road Forest Hill, Maryland 21050-1428 (410) 879- 7993
February 5, 2010
HB 204 Property Assessment/Appeals Task Force
Yesterday, we had the privilege of addressing the Ways and Means Committee on HB 204. We were fortunate to have more of you attend in support of this measure than we have had in previous years. While the group was not overwhelming, it was nonetheless significant enough to be noticed. Hopefully, we can do even better when the senate version, SB 458, is scheduled for hearing.
Delegate Wayne Norman made great remarks in introducing the bill and its need for passage. Delegate Susan McComas testified in strong support of the measure. Additional verbal supporting testimony was provided by the writer, Nick Loffer Americans for Prosperity, Tony Passaro, Bel Air TEA Party, Maureen Harper, AFP, Ellie Dieglemann, and Samuel Ownings, Chestertown farmer/developer. Several other signees were to testify but the usual strategy of delaying potentially controversial bills until late in the day coupled with hours of sauna like temperatures in the hearing room took its toll forcing a number of our supporters to leave early. This appears to be a normal method of wearing down the taxpayer and eliminating any effort of taxpayers to voice their opinion. Unfortunately, for those who were not prepared for the long haul in waiting out this tactic and finally being heard, we lost some of our audience. These hearings are an eye opening, trying experience for the first time participant of this legislative process. We were pleased to see Delegate Mary Dulaney James, Senators Barry Glassman and Andy Harris and assistant/candidate Kathy Szeliga step out of their respective hearings to stop by to chat with us and offer support of Delegate Norman’s bill.
Written favorable testimony was also supplied by County Executive David Craig and Council President Billy Boniface. Each had pressing business commitments that prevented them from making in person statements. Both have indicated intent to attend SB 458, the senate version of this bill when it is introduced. Joan Ryder, Realtor, submitted a favorably written statement. Maryland Association of Realtors Director of Regulatory Affairs, Mark Feinroth testified and with Bill Castelli, Vice President of Government affairs also submitted written testimony. Unfortunately, no other written support was in evidence in support of this measure. That is most disappointing, since just like numbers in the audience are recognized so are written comments. Please submit written comments as well as e-mail messages. We hope that many of you submitted supportive e-mail messages but we have no way of checking what might have been sent in other than from the few folks who sent us copies of their submissions.
In what we see as the ultimate slap in the taxpayer’s face, the Department of Assessments and Taxation has the audacity to hire an Annapolis lobbyist to oppose the will of the taxpayer. This Department, which supposedly serves the taxpayer, spends taxpayer’s dollars to send a lobbyist to make lame arguments against a study that could be beneficial to both the State and its taxpayers in lieu of having one of their own staff testify if they truly feel that this taxpayer initiative is in any way harmful to the well being of the State or its taxpayers. They argue that Legislative Auditors conduct a review of the Department every three years. True, but the last audits in 2004 and 2007 contained several pages of problems which from reports we have received from reliable sources, certainly have never been corrected. This would undoubtedly be concurred with by any taxpayer that has ever appealed an assessment. The current audit, conducted in the summer of 2009, is mysteriously unavailable for scrutiny!!!!
The lobbyist argues the size of the task force, which would be 24 citizens from each State jurisdiction plus one SDAT member would be “overwhelming”. Note that the committee conducting the hearing has 23 members plus a sizeable staff!!!! We testified that Tony Passaro and the writer currently serve on Harford County Executive David Craig’s Financial Plan/Policy Advisory Committee. This group of 24 business people and staff personnel are asked to help update the Harford County financial policy which has not been updated in 12 years. The group has been meeting since December, weekly on average, for two hours. We are asked to finalize a report by the first week of March and are on track to do so. The SDAT lobbyist claims “it would be very difficult to complete such a massive undertaking (meaning the task force study) in 6 months”. Obviously, he has more experience with under performing bureaucrats than with task oriented, overachieving business people. The lobbyist’s final argument is that “this Task Force would require the Department to divert personnel from other responsibilities; there are no existing positions to provide the effort that would be required to conduct this review”. Makes one wonder how they evaluate their own performance or solve in-house problems, doesn’t it????
It is not too late to write to your Delegate or to members of the Ways and Means Committee to urge support of this measure. PLEASE FIND THE TIME TO DO SO. WE NEED THIS BILL TO PASS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL PROPERTY TAXPAYERS!!!!
Remember, Nothing Happens Unless We Make It Happen!!!!
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT SB 458 HEARING — Roy Whiteley