Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

I pledge no tax increases…

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I am pleased to learn that Melissa Covolesky signed The Maryland Taxpayers Association pledge to not raise taxes.

I,___________________________________, pledge to the taxpayers of the ________ District of the State of MARYLAND and all the people of this State, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.

My question is as follows.  Is it mutually exclusive to sign such a pledge and accept the endorsement of these organizations that supported every single tax increase during the Robey administration?

  • Howard County Police Officers’ Association
  • Howard County Teachers Union (HCEA)

Now being recognized as a supporter of the law enforcement and education is a good thing.  Does one need the endorsement of organizations that equate excellent law enforcement and education with large tax increases that proved not to be necessary in the first place while pledging not to seek tax increases?  How do the unions feel now?

The HCEA weighed in as follows on the most controversial of Jim Robey’s series of tax increases in Howard County, the infamous 30% income tax increase, as follows:

The County Executive’s proposal to fund increases in Board of Education and other County Department budgets would require a significant increase in the County’s personal income tax. Council Republican members Alan Kittleman and Chris Merdon proposed eliminating the tax increase and cutting the Board of Education’s budget by $5 million, which would have endangered* both the ESP Reclassification and negotiated agreements. Support for the Executive’s plan from the Council’s three Democratic members —Chairman Guy Guzzone, David Rakes, and Ken Ulman—ensured the defeat of the Kittleman/Merdon plan and funding for the negotiated agreements and reclassification by the Board of Education.

*Would have endangered?  How?  It was a contract that the County was obligated to observe?  This implied threat to their agreement is a fiction.

County Council Candidate and former School Board Chairman supported a very large Transfer Tax increase.  I think her comments summed up the HCEA’s position very well.

Lack of funds could mean big school changes

The Baltimore Sun – January 30, 2003 Thursday

Howard County’s schoolchildren and their parents can expect major classroom changes if county and state officials don’t find more money for school construction, school board member Courtney Watson says.

County Executive James N. Robey, a Democrat, has proposed using an increase in the county’s real estate transfer tax to repay $215 million in bonds that would be sold to fund the construction…

Because the transfer tax is in state law, an increase must be approved separately by the county’s eight delegates and by its three state senators. That means Kittleman and fellow Republican Sen. Sandra B. Schrader can kill the plan.

Robey argues that sales of all homes are fueling the crowding of classrooms. Using a separate fund to borrow against, and then to pay off the debt, would preserve the county’s general funds, he said.

Robey’s plan would increase the cost of buying or selling a house – by $1,250 on a $250,000 house – which has drawn opposition from county real estate agents.

Needless to say the “Expect[ed] major classroom changes” did not occur.  The arguement was simply a scare tactic.

I think that Melissa should explain how these are mutually exclusive.


One Response to “I pledge no tax increases…”

  1. melissa said

    Get real Dave, Gail Bates also sat for the Teachers edorsement and she and Warren have hit every single paper with their editorial whining that they DIDN”T get the endorsement. Warren has signed the pledge so what would he have done if they endorsed him? Humm? Also, why has Gail NOT signed the pledge? Maybe you could look into THAT.

    I don’t need to explain the HCEA’s position to you – ask them. Do I need to get every voter’s assurance that they support 100% of the things I believe or is it enough that they support me more than Gail and Warren?

    Is this evidence of YOUR inability to view issues in and of themselves and not solely in light of an US and Them mentality? If this is not the case, why is this post linking me to Courtney Watson? I signed the No New Tax Pledge at Grover’s Wednesday morning meeting, at his invitation, back in Jan or Feb I think. Gail?

    I was very upfront with the teachers panel that while I might agree in theory with a particular program, that I *wouldn’t* raise taxes to fund them. I am big on reassessing programs and re-allocating money (something you will hear repeated throughout my campaign, interviews and every forum, if you have/had been listening) rather than just heaping money into programs for perpetuity. Maybe it was my candor to the interview board that led them to think they should endorse me over my opponents. Novel, huh? But certainly not within the scope of your attempted hatchet job.


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