Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

January 26, 2003

Raising transfer tax unfair, shortsighted

Howard County Executive James N. Robey's idea to raise the real estate transfer tax to fund school construction is a bad one and the county's Annapolis delegation should reject it. It fails as sound public policy on several fronts.

First, it places an unfair burden on a relatively small percentage of the population, those who are buying or selling real estate. Second, it will make the cost of owning a home more expensive in Howard County, which will not help the affordable housing problem, which Mr. Robey also wants to fix.

Third, it could be a deciding factor for prospective home buyers and businesses to look elsewhere. And fourth, this kind of tax increase is forever, when the need for which it is intended is relatively short-term.

A much fairer and more sensible approach would be for Mr. Robey to ask for a one-time surtax or piggy-back on the county portion of the state income tax, specifically to cover the cost of school construction. This solution will spread out the burden among all county residents who pay income tax, and the sunset provision will assure that the tax does not continue.

Michael H. Ries

Columbia

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