From H. LeRoy Whiteley Jr., Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation:
The 2011 General Assembly session is now history. We wish we could say we achieved all that we set out to accomplish but in a largely one party state any gains must be savored. Our first efforts this year involved Senator Barry Glassman’s introduction of SB 69 Right to Record your tax appeal hearings. This right gives you good access to a learning tool for future appeal hearings. The bill immediately passed out of the Budget and Taxation Committee and passed the Senate with a 46 to 0 vote?? Unfortunately, it died after that.
Delegate Kathy Szelgia in her freshman year cross-filed SB 69 bill as HB 141—her first bill?! It died in the Ways and Means Committee since apparently the committee felt codification of SDAT’s sudden, last minute order to allow recordings was not necessary. However, on the positive side is the fact that PTAAB Administrator, Kent Finkelsen, after the Senate bill hearing which he did not oppose, issued orders to all Property Tax Assessment Appeals Boards (PTAAB) to allow recording of our hearings. We commended him for this leadership action – A SMALL VICTORY FOR THE TAXPAYER??. Delegate Szelgia has informed us that the right to record order to PTAAB boards also applies to assessor hearings. WE THEREFORE RECOMMEND THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS RIGHT AND AVAIL YOURSELF OF USING THIS LEARNING TOOL TO BETTER PREPARE YOURSELF FOR FUTURE APPEALS.
The next effort was again by Senator Barry Glassman’s introduction for the seventh year of SB 498, the Task Force bill to study the Property Tax Assessment and Appeals processes with an eye toward reform that would create an unbiased, equitable, and easy to understand and navigate, fair, non-subjective and uniform property tax assessment and appeals system. Delegate Rick Impallaria cross-filed and ably introduced the HB 1280 version of the bill. Once again, the majority in the General Assembly apparently feels the taxpayer is not deserving of such a system since neither the Budget and Taxation Committee nor the Ways and Means Committee saw fit to allow this bill to reach the floor of either house for action by all those we elect to represent us. The Committees’ acting as judge and jury preclude all of our elected members from acting in our behalf. Remember how they voted the next time you vote??
We will be exploring creating our own task force to achieve what the General Assembly has denied us to date. We will be soliciting your help and support as we prepare for next year. IF YOU HAVE THE INTEREST AND SOME RELATED EXPERTISE PLEASE RESPOND TO OUR SOON TO BE REQUESTED APPEAL TO JOIN IN THIS EFFORT FOR NEXT YEAR.