From Harford Campaign for Liberty:
Campaign for Liberty believes in reducing the size and scope of government and working with government to help it live within it’s means, just like our families and businesses do.
We are presently nearing the end of the county budget process for fiscal year 2012. David Craig has submitted a budget to the County Council, which comes in below the constant yield rate, meaning the Gounty government will actually take in less revenue than it did last year. Maintaining the constant yield would have meant an increase in the tax rate from last year. To his credit, the County Executive’s budget rejected a 24 million dollar budget increase from the Harford County Public Schools and maintained the current tax rate for 2012.
Members of the County Council are now following the steps of the budget process required of them. They have met with the various agencies and departments asking them the tough questions about their portion of the county budget. On Wednesday May 4 and Thursday May 5, 2011 they accepted citizen input concerning the proposed budget at public hearings. In short order they will vote on the County Executive’s Budget Proposal.
You, as citizens have a role to play in encouraging your representative on the Council to take a stand on the budget. Is the budget perfect? No, much can still be done to make operations more efficient and to combine like functions throughout county government. But this has been a process over the last three years that has seen property tax rates reduced and steps taken in the right direction each year. It is up to you to help solicit your representative to continue on this positive course.
Campaign for Liberty would like to clarify the context of a statement made in our e-mail of May 2, 2011. It stated “At our March CFL meeting, the Harford County Executive told us he was going to “have to” raise taxes next year!” This referred to the 2013 budget that will be presented in the spring of 2012, not the 2012 budget that he has already submitted to the Council..
As stated by County Executive Craig in response to a question about the fallback plan if the State of Maryland defers pension plans costs for public employees and teachers to the counties
“But I think it is still going to come our way. We are still going to get 50% of that cost within the next three years. That is going to make it almost impossible for me to keep your tax rate at the constant yield next year.”
“Because they don’t want us to do that. They are mad about that, we are making them look bad down there, I told them I can come down and help them figure it out if they want.”
“But they are going to do everything they possibly can to make us maximize the taxes we take out of your pocket and then say they balanced the budget and we didn’t.”
Here is a clip of the County Executive’s statement:
Clearly the County Executive believes increases in taxes are coming. So we as citizens have to be prepared to fight state government from shifting their financial obligations onto the backs of the local counties and give guidance and encouragement to our local government to be even more streamlined and efficient in their operations.
This means that we must work with our County Council to fight back against tax hikes. We must work together to make a difference in the budget. The last of the Council’s hearings were held already, but you can still communicate with your representative.
Each of us has an idea on how to shape the County and thoughts on what you would like to see Harford County become. Now is not the time to hold onto your ideas or your thoughts. Now is the time to come forward. Share your vision with the Council and other residents of Harford County.
Here are their email addresses:
County Council President Boniface 410-638-3525
District A, Councilman Guthrie 410-638-3521
District B, Councilman Woods 410-638-3520
District C, Council McMahan 410-638-3523
District D, Councilman Shrodes 410-638-3524
District E, Councilman Slutzky 410-638-3522
District F, Councilwoman Lisanti 410-638-3526
We all must work together to achieve our goals of limited, constitutional government with a long-term view. Will you contact your Councilman?