Of the 20 items on the Baltimore County ballot, the most important comes last, Question T. Its purpose -- limiting property tax revenue growth to 2 percent a year -- seems attractive. Yet it amounts to fiscal voodoo. Its passage would seriously damage the county.
If Question T is approved, it will create a gaping shortfall of at least $30 million next year. That will necessitate layoffs of county workers, higher class sizes in schools, library cutbacks, reduced senior services and cuts in law enforcement. This would prove devastating. We urge Baltimore County voters to reject Question T.
The simplistic and irresponsible agitation about the tax ceiling might also endanger $200 million of bond requests. Each is voted separately but is part of an overall development program to maintain the county's quality of life. We recommend approval.
Question A seeks $39.8 million for school roofs and other repairs. Question B requests $45.9 million for government buildings, including the Sparrows Point fire complex and the Eastern Family Resource Center. Question C lets the county borrow $9.6 million for work at the Hernwood, Parkton and Eastern landfills. Question D authorizes $500,000 for senior centers. Question E finances $2 million in library repairs. Question F channels $7.4 million into waterway improvements.
Question G allocates $4.8 million for parks and playgrounds. Question H finances $6.9 million in renovation at community colleges. Question I authorizes $2.6 million for affordable housing and community revival. Question J requests $80.2 million for storm drains, highways and bridges.
Nine other items, Questions K through S, are changes recommended by a charter commission to delete obsolete language or modernize current practices. We urge the passage of all those items.