The following was posted by Councilwoman Christiana Rigby on Facebook today:
Yesterday evening, I was incredibly disheartened to learn that three of my colleagues on the County Council are proposing roughly $120 million in cuts to the FY21 Capital and Operating Budgets.
In what will be a challenging year for our county, I am appalled that cuts of this magnitude are being proposed. While these Councilmembers have posited that they are simply cutting “unnecessary” government spending, I’d like to highlight a few of the items from the $90,000,000+ in cuts that have been proposed:
1. East Columbia: 50+ Center
2. ADA Ramps
3. Safe School Route Sidewalks for Children
4. Police Station: Northern District Renovation
5. Complete Streets Design Manual
6. Pedestrian Safety & Accessibility Improvements
7. Road Resurfacing Funding
8. Sidewalk Repair Funding
9. Intersection Safety and Signalization Improvements
10. Road Access to High School 13
My colleagues feel that these projects are “unnecessary” – I do not. These projects are critical investments for infrastructure safety and community services in Howard County. Additionally, many of these dollars are contracted out to local employers and firms in Howard County – firms that will lose income and work due to the Capital Budget being unnecessarily slashed.
My colleagues have also proposed $21,000,000 in cuts to Howard County’s FY21 Operating Budget. Their proposed cuts to the Operating Budget would significantly reduce funding from numerous County Departments, including:
1. Community Resources and Services
4. Public Works
6. Recreation and Parks
7. State’s Attorney
9. Planning and Zoning
10. Technology & Communication Services
To avoid these draconian cuts to our operating budget this year and provide the opportunity for increased support to HCPSS in future years, I have proposed a progressive recordation tax on real estate transactions in Howard County. This proposal would generate roughly $20 million in revenue for the Operating Budget. Over 76% of this revenue comes from a 2% tax on real estate transactions over $1,000,000, ensuring that Howard County’s land developers and corporations are paying their fair share to support our school system and operating budget.
This proposal also lowers the recordation tax on home equity loans and low & moderate-priced property sales, making first-time homeownership and investment in older homes more accessible in Howard County. I’m disappointed that my colleagues feel unable to support this common-sense approach to support our community.
Over the next several days, I hope to learn more about these proposed budget cuts, and I plan to ask my colleagues why they are choosing to unnecessarily force austerity and harm the county’s ability to serve our community at a time when we should be investing in small businesses, creating infrastructure jobs, and revitalizing our neighborhoods.
If you’d like to share your thoughts with the County Council, please email CouncilMail@howardcountymd.gov.
Here is the context about the information above: Council Members Yungmann, Jung and Walsh Advance Amendments to reduce the FY21 Capital and Operating Budgets
There is a Council Work Session scheduled for tomorrow at 1:00pm where the council members will be discussing the proposed budget amendments…I am betting it will be interesting and maybe some interesting soundbites.