From H. LeRoy Whiteley, Jr., founder, Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation:
The General Assembly is back in session — time for us to get back to work to stem the tide of the O’Malley/Busch/Miller/Committee Chair dictatorship that denies us true democracy. We need your help and support in putting forth an agenda that can benefit ALL of Maryland’s over 2 million property taxpayers by allowing bills to receive full action by ALL of the legislators we elect; not just a few select committee members directed by O’Malley/Busch/Miller.
Anyone interested in attending hearings for either just 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 limitations associated with recent hip replacement surgery and continual care giving to my stroke recovering wife. Your help 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, in concert with Senator Barry Glassman, has agreed to introduce the task force study bill this year. This bill is designed to study the failing, flawed operation of the property tax assessment and appeals system to recommend improvements to this archaic, unfair system. Delegate Glass sits on the House Ways and Means Committee that will eventually hear the bill and hopefully pass it on to the House and Senate. This is viewed as a good strategic move to help accomplish this effort.
Delegate Glass also indicated he 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. Their most ludicrous argument is that putting these worksheets online would violate the privacy of individual taxpayers. The SDAT Director Robert Young says this with a straight face while selling all 2 million of our records to a private firm who in turn offers them for sale to anyone with $115 to $225 per county/city
Somehow we must convince the legislature to listen to us and accept the facts admitted to in public forums that the department is understaffed; down from 230 to 158 assessors but has no ads for employment help that we could find, is unable to keep up with physical property inspections and changes; is unable to keep sales data up to date and openly admits many assessments are therefore in error — as many as 33% and wrong by 20% or more. These statements are quotes from the SDAT Director by various media sources and yet the same Director UNBELIEVABLY testifies “We are doing a good job?”
Delegate McComas has indicated she will introduce a bill requiring an audit of SDAT. That should reveal a true picture of the job they are supposedly doing.
Bill details are not yet available. You can access the bills and schedules, when ready, for hearings at www.mgaleg.maryland.gov. 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. Founder
Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation