13,000 names on tax-cap ballot petition

July 22, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

County tax protesters, who tried to cap government spending in the 1990 election, have submitted 13,000 signatures on petitions aimed at putting another tax limitation question on the ballot next fall.

Signatures collected by the Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association were submitted yesterday to the county Board of Election Supervisors, said Nancy Crawford, board administrator.

Another measure submitted by the group would ask voters whether a two-term limit should be imposed on County Council members. That would force three council members, Maureen Lamb, Virginia P. Clagett and David G. Boschert, out of office.

A similar proposal, made by Council Chairman David G. Boschert, would limit members to three terms. Time served before the proposal became law would not count against the three-term limit.

Ms. Crawford said the 999 pages of signatures on the tax limitation measure and 882 pages on term limits were delivered yesterday morning.

The proposed cap would limit any increase in property tax revenues after July 1, 1992, to a rate that either matches the Consumer Price Index of next January, or 4.5 percent -- whichever is less.

A similar tax cap measure was defeated in 1990.

Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association President Robert C. Schaeffer said the measure has a better chance to pass this fall because taxpayers are disappointed with County Executive Robert R. Neall's fiscal policies.

"I think we've got an even chance, a 50-50 chance, and that's worth doing," he said.

Mr. Schaeffer said in the last election, the measure didn't pass because of a "scare campaign" by county labor unions and because Neall ran on a platform of cutting spending. He said many voters cast their ballots for him and against the measure, hoping he would accomplish its goals.

"I think there's more anger, I think there's more discontent. I think some of the people who got fooled last time won't get fooled this time," he said.

But Louise Hayman, a Neall spokeswoman, said the county administration has a much more conservative approach to spending. She said Mr. Neall would have offered more relief to TC property taxpayers, but the economy dried up other sources of revenue.

Mr. Schaeffer, who has been collecting signatures since April, said he hopes to win the support of many of Ross Perot's followers.

"We're hoping some of the Perot folk are going to realize that what it is they're aiming at is the same thing as what we've been trying to get at in the last few years," he said.

Mr. Schaeffer said he turned in 13,000 signatures on the tax measure and about 11,500 signatures on the term limitation ballot question.

He said he and his supporters will continue to collect signatures, working in three-member teams at shopping centers throughout the county, and that he plans to have another 1,000 signatures for each question by the Aug. 10 deadline. The group needs 10,000 signatures of registered voters on each question to have them placed on the Nov. 3 ballot.

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