Ecker's trash plan simply tax break for richThe board of...


March 03, 1996

Ecker's trash plan simply tax break for rich

The board of directors of the Howard County Citizens Association, an umbrella group representing more than 150 civic associations and individual members, strongly and unanimously objects to Howard County Executive Charles Ecker's latest proposal for a trash tax. We believe it to be more onerous than the original proposal -- one which was almost universally condemned throughout the county.

All of the cost of single-family residential trash disposal would be transferred solely to residents. Business and industry traditionally have contributed 20 percent of this cost as part of their taxes, but no longer would be required to do so under Mr. Ecker's plan. In fact, the business sector would get a tax break of 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, a windfall amounting to millions of dollars, just when the county needs all of the money it can get for schools and other essential services.

Most importantly, unlike other taxes, the so-called "fee" would not be deductible from federal, state and local income taxes. For many people, this would have the net effect of almost doubling the proposed $125 yearly charge.

This regressive tax unfairly puts the burden on the middle-income household. An owner of a million-dollar property would get a tax reduction of about $154 while paying the standard trash tax of $125, thereby gaining $29 on Mr. Ecker's proposal. An $800,000 house breaks even, while a family with a $150,000 home would pay the $125 trash tax, but would only get a $30 offset, thus losing $95. How fair is that?

Most apartment dwellers will face a $10 per month rent increase as their landlords pass along the expense.

This new program just collapses into one of raising taxes through the back door and should be soundly defeated.

Ronald Tilkins


The writer is president of the Howard County Citizens Association.

Columbia Association defends its budget

The Columbia Association always appreciates the opportunity be covered by the local newspapers. Such coverage is an important way to communicate with Columbia residents. However, the Feb. 18 article in The Sun for Howard on the proposed Columbia Association budget requires some clarification.

Every year since 1985, CA has produced an excess of income over expenses. In fiscal year 1996 alone, that excess of income was $2.6 million. In fiscal year 1997, that is projected to increase to $2.8 million. Excess income is used to fund the capital budget which decreases CA's borrowing needs.

The article pointed out that CA's salary and wages are increasing by almost 11 percent. However, it neglected to state that the merit increase is only 2.8 percent of that increase. The remaining 8 percent is for staffing for new or expanded programs such as new camps, more before- and after-school care, increased pool hours and others. These CA programs and services generate an income which more than covers the increase in salary and wage expenses.

adraic Kennedy


The writer is president of the Columbia Association.

John Morgan's bedrock values

Republicans in Maryland Tuesday will be going to the polls to decide whom they will nominate for Congress in Maryland's 5th District.

Only one Republican candidate, Del. John Morgan, has the hard-won experience and conservative ideas needed to represent the district.

I served in the House of Delegates with Mr. Morgan. He could always be counted on as a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and lower taxes. He stood firm against the Schaefer tax-and-spend special interests and has fought for job creation and economic growth, as evidenced by his 100 percent pro-business voting record in the 1995 session of the General Assembly.

John Morgan is a fighter and a winner. That's why he's the first Prince George's Republican in the House of Delegates since 1950, and the first to be re-elected since 1918. People who say the incumbent can't be beaten don't know John Morgan. John will win because of his commitment to the same bedrock values that ignited my campaign for governor in 1994.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey


Schuchardt for school board

I would like to encourage your support for Jane Schuchardt for Howard County school board. Her long list of experience and accomplishments make her the perfect choice for a seat on the board.

She is a 40-year resident of this county. She taught in the school system for 25 years. Her children are products of Howard County schools. It is her desire to see that the system maintains its high standards, and progresses in preparing all children to reach their highest potential in the work force upon graduation.

Dr. Schuchardt's highest priorities are to provide:

* The necessary basic reading and math skills to meet the educational needs of all students.

* A safe learning environment for students and teachers by instilling respect and discipline in our schools.

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