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
2. Police
3. Sheriff
4. Public Works
5. Transportation
6. Recreation and Parks
7. State’s Attorney
8. Finance
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.

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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.

Scott E

6 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think people realize how much revenue HoCo (and MD) will not receive over the next 12 months.

    If HoCo citizens want the county budget to stay as planned, expect to pay more in property tax, county fees and creative new taxes.

    It is common sense that the county executive and county council needs to cut back on expenses until our county’s economy returns to 2019 levels. And, that might not be for a couple years.

    • Quotes regarding MD gov’t revenue –
      “A revised financial forecast issued Thursday shows the state could miss between $925 million and $1.125 billion by the end of June ….. And, the impacts could be felt for at least two years ”
      ” By the 2022 budget year, the state* could be missing out on between $2.5 billion and $4 billion per year if job losses, lost income and reduced consumer spending continue”
      (2022 budget starts July 1st)
      (* state’s comptroller, treasurer and budget secretary)

      I’m sure HoCo revenue will be down drastically for the next 2 yrs.

  2. Councilwoman Rigby clearly has the guts, vision and values to represent the interests of the majority of the citizens of Howard County. My Councilwoman, Deb Jung, represents the gutless status quo. District 4 deserves someone who represents the voiceless, Jung is not that person.

  3. I agree with budget revisions. Given our financial crisis, we don’t need new taxes. And we should prioritize schools, police and fire, and keep improved walking/bike paths and a cultural center for better times.

  4. Howard county already has the highest income and property taxes. And they don’t even cover things likes trash collection and the fire dept, which are paid for by separately assess taxes. And coming soon, a plastic bag tax.

    I like how she claims that “…land developers and corporations…” will pay the increased tax. Nope; it will be paid by homeowners.

    She’s upset about $20 mil in cuts? I imagine they will have to cut much more as a result of decreased tax revenues due to the continuing shut down.

  5. Like many politicians these days, Rigby is not just a politician who only knows to spend and pander. Follow this act with tax, tax, then more tax. Is she really this irresponsible to propose spend now and worry later? The county and state will face unprecedented level of income short fall, and all she says is, all these projects are necessary and budget be damned? And to her supporters, like Ann above, no one is disputing that these projects may benefit some people in the community and they are not unnecessary, but please understand everything is relative and nothing comes for free. We all have to make tough decisions during tough times. And politicians like Rigby and Balls are not leaders who can make tough decisions, but panders whose goals are to make themselves look good, while the county residents footing the bills later.

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