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MoCo Plans to Play Defense in Annapolis

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and County Council members will host a reception tonight for Montgomery's legislative delegation. The informal gathering and public hearing that follows are a sort of pregame strategy session to set next year's agenda for Annapolis. But it will probably be a challenge for anyone to put a happy face on the county's prospects for defending its turf in the coming session.

At a council meeting this week, county lobbyist Melanie Wenger suggested that the message to legislators should be to "severely resist" any changes in state aid formulas that provide additional funding for certain school systems, including Montgomery, and pay the retirement costs of teachers employed by counties.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has resisted pressure to make such changes in the past, but the magnitude of the state's budget problems are even greater for fiscal 2010.

Montgomery's public schools have requested $114.million for construction and renovation, including $19.million for the second year of work at Walter Johnson High and Galway Elementary schools. But Wenger told the council that O'Malley is expected to recommend only $260.million in school construction funds statewide.

On the transportation front, the county is again pushing for funding the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and road projects related to the Pentagon's base realignment and closure plan. But council members said the state's current source of revenue for such projects is unsustainable.

It's an all-around gloomy picture that could get worse. Wenger told the council: "You can expect another round of cuts" in January or with the introduction of the governor's budget.

By Anne Bartlett  |  November 20, 2008; 10:32 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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It is important to tell our legislators not to support tax increases at the state level too. In last year's special session the crucial vote on all the tax increases was 24-23 with 7 of 8 state senators from Montgomery voting Yes! Only Senator Kramer thought of local homeowners. Then this same group in the general session supported raising the state income tax even higher with the result that the 16% of Marylanders who live in Montgomery County have to pay over 60% of the up to 52.6% increase in the state income tax which the legislature passed last year. Also, they should not support any "temporary" tax increases; for, there is no such thing.

The willingness of Montgomery County state legislators to support county tax increases backfires too. The Governor and state legislators from other areas around the state see eagerness of Montgomery County legislators for tax increases and then decide to shift more and more of the state's burden to Montgomery County. Why not eliminate that long annual list of local pork barrel earmarks that deplete our state's coffers every year?

It is not enough to just play defense. Montgomery legislators should cut some of the waste in state government because Montgomery homeowners are sending way more to Annapolis than they are getting back.

And they should remind the Governor and other state-wide officials that they cannot possibly get elected or re-elected without winning Montgomery County. Gosh, we have 2/3 of the Board of Public Works with Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp. Why shouldn't we get a break in Annapolis for the first time?

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 20, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

P.S. How can the County Executive hold a reception for Montgomery County legislators tonight when he is holding a town meeting in Clarksburg tonight. Over 60% of voters at each of three Clarksburg polling residents voted to support Question B which makes it more difficult for the council to exceed the charter property tax up-to-the-rate-of-inflation limit. The County Executive opposed Question B and supported loading up Clarksburg residents with a $1,500 annual development district property tax.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 20, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Since the above posts the S&P has dropped to 1997 levels where the County budget was less than $2 billion as opposed to the $4.3 billion budget when the DOW was at 14,000.
Also, I've heard the County Executive at in his Clarksburg Town meeting. Clarksburg with its 3 polling places out of 243 in the county has had town meetings with the Council and then the Executive in 3 months. There must ber problems there.

It now seems that the County Executive is optimistic when he says his "DEFICIT" will be $250 million. Look for large state cuts and declining revenues to result in a deficit of from $500 million to maybe as much as 50% larger than that.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 20, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about what is going on, the more I think WHERE IS OBAMA? WHERE IS OBAMA? WHERE IS OBAMA? It was said that the time of transition would make the U.S. vulnerable to attack. Everyone thought a 9-11 attack and that could still happen. But what is taking place is more subtle and more insidious. We are suffering an attack on our economic way of life. Don't be surprised if foreign countries are pulling out their investments in the U.S.making more difficult the stock market implosion.

All our U.S. institutions are going down---Citigroup and General Motors, Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman and General Electric.

We can't wait until January for Obama to come up with his economic plan. Things are taking place too fast in this internet age. Obama must show immediate leadership on the economic issues. So must Mikulski, Cardin, Van Hollen and Edwards. The good people I saw at the Clarksburg town meeting last night are seeing their life savings melt away.

I watched Jim Kramer on TV last night at 11:00 when I got home. Kramer has an eight point plan for the economy. Obama must look at it. Obama must step up now because the present administration's plan is not working. This crisis is worse than the 9-11 wave that hit Bush. Obama needs to announce an economic plan that the Nation can rally around now. We can't wait until after Thanksgiving. Obama needs to announce an economic plan no later than Thanksgiving. Our way of life is being attacked and Obama needs to get off it and CHANGE the economic situation. PLEASE!

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 21, 2008 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Where is 0bama?

Oh, that's easy, he opted to vote "Present" by stepping down from his Senate seat instead of using it to lead.

Not that the man has lead anything in his life, mind you.

Posted by: NeverLeft | November 24, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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