Saturday, March 11, 2006

Didn't see this one coming...

From today's Sun:

Howard County Executive James N. Robey vetoed a Republican-sponsored measure yesterday that would have trimmed the assessment cap on the taxable value of homes from 5 percent to 4 percent, a measure that would have saved the owner of a median-priced $450,000 home $46 a year.
But why? Why!?

Robey based his veto on three objections: that the cut is small and wouldn't take effect until 2007; that he is proposing a 3-cent cut in the property tax rate for July 1; and that with costs rising, the combination of both cuts would be a "significant loss of revenue."

"Significant loss of revenue" is a loaded statement. Sure, both cuts (or a combination of a property and income tax cut) would cost millions of dollars, which, to someone like me, is indeed a significant amount of money. But to a county with a $1 billion budget and a $20 million surplus, I don't know if the forgone revenue would really be that significant -- or at least so significant that it would imperil our high level of services.

And as long as we're parsing statements, how about is one from council chairman Chris Merdon.

"The Democrats want to have it both ways. If you cut taxes a little bit, they say it's too small and insignificant. If you cut them too high, they say it's irresponsible," Merdon said. Robey's proposal would save the same owner of a median-priced home $135 and begin a year earlier.

Um, so what's your point? It seems to me like he's arguing against finding a responsible middle ground here. The Democrats don't want it both ways -- they want more than a little and less than a lot, or in other words, something in the middle. Cutting taxes too much is indeed irresponsible, and cutting them too little is indeed insignificant. You don't base policy on extremes.

As for Merdon's "democrats want it both ways" comment, well, I've got two words: Pot, Kettle.

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