The surprise in Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker's fiscal 1993 budget isn't so much that he is not raising taxes but that he doesn't have to. After nearly 17 months of clipping and pruning, much of it painful, most of it necessary, Mr. Ecker finds himself in the enviable position of being able to expand Howard's budget without hitting the tax button.
His blueprint for fiscal 1993, released Monday, calls for increasing spending 5.5 percent to $270.3 million. This provides for, among other things, a 2.5 percent raise for increase-starved county employees, money to train rookie police, new libraries and an enlarged recycling effort.
Howard is in good enough financial shape to resist using its new authority to raise the local piggyback tax. Mr. Ecker is exercising restraint in not tapping a big, new revenue source.