Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Democrats stall Merdon’s aging in place bill

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, October 6, 2006

Election Year Politics and Government Working Hard for YOU!

Howard County Democrats are stalling the passage of Chris Merdon’s aging in place bill hoping to take the issue away from Merdon in the run up to the November 7th election for County Executive.

Remember, the idea from this bill was inspired by actions in the Democratic controlled General Assembly who passed House Bill 288.  They had done a study on how much this would cost.  Merdon included the information and gave it to the rest of the Council.

For a refresher here is the information on the General Assembly website.

Democrats Ken Ulman and Calvin Ball were quoted in the Baltimore Sun as saying along the lines of we like the idea and we promise to vote for it on October 30th.  What is the rush?  We want to make sure it is a good bill.  Right!

Ted Meyerson, vice chair on the Commission on Aging, is constantly quoted on this issue.  I think this is the third time I have seen him in the paper associated with this legislation.  Their are 15 members on the Commission on Aging.  Can we hear from some of them please.  Meyerson is giving Ulman political cover when his quotes are accompanied with this “members of the Commission on Aging”.  Meyerson is only one of 15 members.   I think we would be interested in knowing how they all the members feel.

In case you did not know it Ted Myerson is a Robey appointee and an Ulman contributor and supporter.  At least when I speak to the press I tell them whether or not I am supporting the person they are asking me about.  I don’t think it is fair to justify Ball’s and Ulman’s actions by providing them the cover of Meyerson’s title and words.

I have no doubt at all that Ted Meyerson is a passionate advocate for seniors.  However, he knows that the vast majority of funding for aging seniors comes from the State and not the County.  He is also pretending the commission doesn’t know the needs of the Senior population.  If you don’t know that much then why do we have a commission in the first place.

I asked this in a previous post:

He (Meyerson) is quoted as saying:

“We’re targeting a population whose numbers we don’t know – whose needs we don’t know,”

Mr. Meyerson, if you don’t know our Senior populations needs then what is the commission doing?  How can you pretend to be an advocate if you admit in the paper you don’t know their needs?

He clearly understands the needs of our Senior population and is pretending he doesn’t in order to provide legitimacy to Ulman’s stalling tactics.  He wrote back in August 2006 in the Howard County Times

Currently, the State Department of Aging has a budget of almost $47 million and a staff of 65. That is a lot of money, true, but barely enough to keep the current programs working. Better funding is needed now just to keep up!

And, with such a large anticipated demographic change, clearly the level of funding will have to grow significantly in order to accomplish the required job of maintaining current programs and initiating new ones.

Let the governor know about it.

On top of its share of the $47M the State spends in Maryland the County provided over $4.4M per year in Senior services in the most recent operating budget.  With the Senior population increasing Mr. Meyerson knows funding will only increase.

He will in the end support the bill because he knows these people need help and they need help NOW.  I hear all the time how the GOP is the Grumpy Mean Old Party – we don’t care about people.  Now who is holding up this releif for Seniors and for what true purpose.

Here is the real headline.

ELECTION YEAR POLITICS TRUMPS THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE.

Are Mssrs, Ball, Meyerson, and Ulman are the type of Democrats that believe that tax breaks (in this case) are bad for Seniors because Government knows how to spend the people’s money better than the people do.

We have been running $20M surpluses.  If you Ulman is going to put up a fight on what the Democratically controlled General Assembly estimates will cost $3.9M in tax breaks what do you think he, as County Executive, would do when we have future surpluses?  We won’t ever see our money again.

While Ball, Ulman and Meyerson try to look like fiscal conservatives the real story is they are trying to block this for political purposes so Merdon doesn’t look good.  That is your Government working hard for you.

The General Assembly Department of Legislative Services conducted a study of the financial impact to the Counties if they were to implement the provisions of HB288 being considered in CB68-2006.

A copy of that document can be found here.

http://mlis.state.md.us/2006rs/fnotes/bil_0008/hb0288.pdf

The General Assembly estimated that in Howard County 10,829 residents could take advantage of this provision.  Not all of these homeowners could take advantage of the tax cut because not all of them would meet the qualifications but the General Assembly estimated that 25% would be eligible and the revenue impact would be $3.9M per year.

Given projected revenue increases by the Howard County Spending Affordability Committee of 6% per year through FY2011

http://www.co.ho.md.us/DOA/DOApdfs/07Affordweb.pdf

and the Monthly Revenue Estimates report which shows that Howard County has already exceeded projections. 

“Revenues from this source (REAL PROPERTY TAX) thru August 2006 are 8.4% above the level collected thru August 2005. Actual receipts are 5% above the planned level. Strong reassessments have driven this revenue for the past several years and should continue to be a reliable source this year.”j

Overall revenues “August 2006 revenues are nearly 5% above the planned level and 6.8% above the level reported for August 2005. Property tax revenues continue to be strong.”

http://www.co.ho.md.us/DOA/DOApdfs/RevWebAug.pdf

I think the County Council already understands the financial implications of CB68-2006

So, please contact the members of the County Council.  Let them know how you feel about this.

gguzzone@co.ho.md.us
cbball@co.ho.md.us
kulman@co.ho.md.us
cmerdon@co.ho.md.us
cfeaga@co.ho.md.us

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