At this late date, the voter needs to be aware of a few important things regarding the Property Tax Limit (Question D) on Tuesday's ballot.
First, the ballot itself is misworded. The summary of the real amendment indicates that the council may raise the tax rate 4.5 percent above the constant yield rate. That is absolutely incorrect and does not represent the amendment itself, which says that the rate may permit revenues to increase no more than 4.5 percent above last year's revenues.
The next important thing for voters to consider, especially those who are concerned by the constant bombardment of distortions and outright lies by those who want to continue higher taxes, is this: There will be NO CUT in the education budget.
Despite (School Superintendent Larry) Lorton's illegal and unethical use of schoolchildren and taxpayer money to try to frighten parents, he is deliberately making false statements.
The property tax revenue limitation is a limit on the rate of growth.
For years, these particular tax revenues have grown at about 9 percent each year. Question D would scale that growth back to a maximum of 4 percent.
But growth would continue! It is an absolute certainty that the education budget, which this year was $330 million, will be considerably more than $330 million next year. Question D will not cut one penny.
What Question D will do is simply this: Next year it will lower the property tax rate from $2.46 to $2.36 per $100 of assessed valuation. The effect on the taxpayer can be calculated depending upon each homeowner's assessment. A $100,000 assessable value will see a drop of $100 in the first year, and continue to slide down each following year as the tax rate continues to decline.
Voters should examine the tactics of the opposition, on display in the form of "scare" ads on radio and television, and ask themselves what kind of people would be responsible for such things. Claiming that 911 would be busy has nothing to do with this issue, but implies that if you vote for Question D, your life will be endangered!
When this is all over, there are going to be a lot of sheepish and embarrassed people who lent themselves to this indecent campaign and will still have to live in Anne Arundel County with their fellow residents, knowing full well how they exaggerated and lied throughout this period.
One of the saddest events in this campaign concerns the county's teachers, who are being bullied and scared into opposition. Many of them have told me that they knew we were right, but that they could not trust the elected officials to not cut education.
Ironically, AATRG and the teachers are natural allies, for classroom spending and against the mahogany office waste, and at the next budget hearings we will be there advocating their position on education money.
Question D will bring a halt to the upward spiral in county government spending, while giving the property owner a much-needed break. It will accomplish this without harming any county programs.
We know that to be true, most homeowners know that to be true, and despite the best efforts of the taxers and spenders to deny the facts with their big-money campaign of fear, it is true. Vote for D.
Robert C. Schaeffer, president of Anne Arundel Taxpayers for Responsive Government, is a former Navy commander who retired last year after a stint as a Naval Academy professor.