From H. LeRoy Whiteley, Jr., Founder, Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation:
The General Assembly is back in session and it is time to get back to work for all of us. We need your help and support in putting forth an agenda that can benefit ALL of Maryland’s over 2 million property taxpayers.
We ask any of you with an interest in participating in hearings for either a show of support or for testimony to please contact us and let’s talk. We may be somewhat restricted in our personal appearances at the many scheduled hearings this year due to obligations associated with giving care to my stroke recovering wife. Any help you can provide can benefit us all.
So far this year we have met with and had numerous discussions with several of our faithful, supportive Harford County legislators. Delegate Glen Glass, a new comer to our corner, in concert with Senator Barry Glassman, has agreed to introduce the task force study bill this year. Delegate Glass sits on the House Ways and Means Committee that will eventually hear the bill which hopefully will be passed on to the Senate and the floor. This is viewed as a good strategic move to help accomplish this effort.
Delegate Glass is also preparing a draft bill giving senior citizen property taxpayers a 25% reduction in their tax burden.
Delegate Susan McComas and Senator Barry Glassman have both indicated that although SDAT (Department of Assessments and Taxation) reluctantly agreed last year to allow the recording of our appeal hearings for learning purposes, the warning message they issue with the hearing schedule is being viewed as intimidating because of the veiled inference that the recording will be stopped if it is deemed to be disruptive to the hearing process. Several appellants have informed us that they reluctantly cancelled their recording of hearings for fear of alienating the hearing officers. Senator Glassman will reintroduce the bill this year. It passed the Senate 46 to 0 last year. The SDAT lobbyist convinced the House members the bill was not needed to become law since SDAT would voluntarily agree to allow recordings. However, the threat of stopping the recordings has reared its ugly head. Obviously, SDAT cannot be trusted.
Delegate McComas has also indicated she will introduce a bill to allow property assessment worksheets to be accessed via the Internet just as the Real Property Search data sheets are. Anyone who has ever appealed an assessment knows of the necessity of obtaining comparable property assessment worksheets to fully analyze your property versus the State’s so called comparables or your own selected comparables. This bill, if passed, would save all appellants and the State considerable time and money. The State will argue otherwise as they have in the past.
No details are yet available on these bills. You can access the bills and schedules, when ready, for hearings at www.mlis.state.md.us. As soon as information is available we will send out notices and post the information on our web site. Please check us out. Notice is often short.
Please pass on to others asking them to help and support these property taxpayer efforts!!
H. LeRoy Whiteley, Jr.
Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation