Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

December 21, 2003

Commissioners hide transfer tax agenda

It is easy to say we deserve whom we elect, but it is still disappointing to put your trust in friends only to have that trust violated after they take office. The duplicity of "let those who cause the growth pay for the growth" slogan to justify the property transfer tax exposes our county commissioners as disingenuous and undeserving of the trust we, the electorate, bestowed on them.

The property transfer tax is not only on newcomers to the county. It is on every property transfer - not just sales - and payable in full at the time of transfer.

To add to their chicanery, our commissioners have camouflaged their agenda (as yet undisclosed) by including emergency services among the three beneficiaries of their new tax. Every citizen would hope that such services would be available when needed, but why this concern on the part of the commissioners at this time? How much of the new revenues would be dedicated to emergency services? When asked this question, one commissioner had no idea - neither a dollar nor a percentage amount except that it would be less than one-third.

Is the inclusion of the emergency services merely to garner votes for an otherwise unneeded and unpopular new tax? The sheriff's department is also to be a beneficiary of the unpopular property transfer tax but is this to enhance the safety and general welfare of the taxpayers or is this new tax to finance an unneeded countywide police department? Have the citizens of Carroll County ever expressed a desire for such a burden to the county's tax load? Instead of revenue raising via speed traps and petty traffic violations, police personnel, instead of skulking around with radar guns, might be better employed apprehending more serious criminals than motorists. Again, like the emergency services, the county police will not be the biggest winner in this new tax money bonanza.

In a county like ours a countywide police force can be a burdensome and unneeded expense. Our current arrangement with the state is more than adequate.

Since neither emergency services nor county police have the ability to generate enough votes - and the issue is "votes" as in re-election - what is the third element that is needed? It must be large, militant, politically astute and greedy: solidly based on the premise that more is never enough yet believe the solution to every problem is money, especially more money.

The answer: the educrats. To satiate their voracious appetite for more funding ($220 million per year, each year and growing, is not enough), the educrats are rumored to receive the lion's share of the property transfer tax, more than the other two beneficiaries combined. Why? It is in exchange for re-election of free-spending county commissioners of course - and possibly their election to higher offices.

It is naive to imagine that the purpose of this courtship of the Department of Education with new revenue is to enhance the quality of education. The issue is politics. Right now it is to put pressure on the county delegation to introduce the legislation in Annapolis for a courtesy vote of approval.

The citizens of Carroll County do not need another tax. They need county commissioners who can tighten the belt on spending and espouse local control instead of adopting unfunded, costly state and national programs.

William Bowen Jr.


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