Montgomery County Executive Neal Potter was accurate when he described release of his $1.6 billion budget as "a day when we make everybody mad." His plan, shaped by a wilting local economy and yawning gap in projected revenue, is one of the harshest budgets to hit Montgomery.
Virtually no corner of government has escaped the fiscal ax. A round of cuts totaling $102 million would vastly curtail government services, translating into larger elementary school classrooms, trimmed library hours, fewer bus routes and emergency shelters and reduced psychiatric treatment for youthful offenders.
County employees and teachers would lose $64 million in pay raises; another 545 positions would be frozen or withdrawn from the public payroll. The revenue side of the equation calls for raising $88 million in new taxes on a diverse raft of items ranging from new construction to telephone usage and hotel and motel stays. A plan to raise the local piggyback income tax, though, stands little chance in Annapolis.