Carroll educators' selfish campaign

October 30, 1992

Carroll County's teachers and other school employees are fooling no one by opposing the proposed county charter. They say the tax cap contained in the charter might hinder the county's ability to raise revenue and might ultimately harm the county's police protection, emergency services and public education.

Why don't these groups come clean and admit that the public's interest is not their paramount concern? Instead, they ought to acknowledge they are much more worried about the impact this tax cap might have on their own pay and benefits. Otherwise, they don't have any reason to be working so hard against the charter question on Tuesday's ballot.

There are a multitude of problems with the proposed charter. The tax limit is certainly one of them. The absence of an elected county executive is a much more fundamental flaw. Even with that flaw, we have advocated its approval only because the commissioner form of government is no longer serving the interest of Carroll's growing citizenry.

Once the charter is passed, the council and residents have ample opportunity to amend and perfect the charter. Even the U.S. Constitution -- one of the world's better-drafted government documents -- has been amended 26 times. Certainly, the Carroll County charter could be amended if needed.

As proposed, the charter would limit the county's real property tax rate annual increases to the cost of living for the Baltimore area. This cap is not absolute; it could be overridden with the approval if four members of the five-member county council. But in the current political climate, that would be virtually impossible to do. In the meantime, however, it is worth noting that if the cap had been applied retroactively to previous tax increases, they all would have come in under the limit.

The tax cap is a valid concern, but the larger issue here is a form of government that has become hopelessly outdated. By opposing the charter, the coalition of four education groups is saying they want to preserve the existing system. They also are indicating they don't like self-government and would rather continue with the unrepresentative and unaccountable commissioner form of government.

What the county's educators are primarily saying, however, is that their interests are more important than giving citizens a meaningful voice in their own affairs.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.