Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

News you will not see from Howard County

Posted by Ed C on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Examiner is reporting that Anne Arundel County Council will approve the proposed $1.2 billion budget (County to approve $1.2B budget)

A quote that you will not see in Howard County anytime soon:

The average taxpayer will see a slight drop in his tax bill despite a 2 percent rise in assessments, as the county will lower its property tax rate by 2.9 percent to meet the required cap on tax revenues.

A comparison of the two county’s budgets and populations.

Howard vs Anne Arundel

And, I wonder why the Howard county budget does not contain a similar chart to this from page 34 of the Anne Arundel Budget Message (pdf)

Tax Burden Comparison

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11 Responses to “News you will not see from Howard County”

  1. Excellent point Ed. We are the second smallest county in Maryland. We are the smallest in central Maryland yet our tax burden is among the highest. I really have to question the effeciency of Howard County Government. Unfortunately, I don’t see any changes in the near futures. The democratic party in Howard County (like the their brethern in Annapolis) knows that given the domination of Columbia by their party they don’t have to change this picture because that domination will keep getting them elected. As such they will keep growing Government because they mistakenly believe “Government is the cure for all of our ills” or at least think Government has more responsibility than it really does and ignore the threat of large Government. Now one day the voters will say enough is enough – I hope I am still around.

  2. Great charts Ed. Sad part is, there are people out there who think the Howard County Government still doesn’t spend enough money….

  3. Joshua Kaufman said

    Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. The aggregate quality of government services in HoCo is, in my opinion, higher than in surrounding counties. To some, this is not a justification for paying what they consider unreasonable taxes. My feeling is that to most people in HoCo, this is an adequate justification.

    Just look at the schools, AACo schools have 50% more student than we do, but a county supported budget that is only 26% larger. You may say that this does not make a difference, but it does.

    From the same article you quote from:

    “But the county school board doesn’t share that enthusiasm, as many programs will be under funded or not funded at all, school spokesman Bob Mosier said.

    While the $541 million schools budget includes money to open two new schools — Seven Oaks Elementary in Odenton and the Ferndale Early Education Center — there is not enough funding to fully staff those schools, Mosier said.

    He also said there is not enough money to pay for all-day kindergarten at 17 schools, registrars for college-bound high school students and to make IT improvements. The school system also got $1 million less than requested for security, he said.

    “We’ve got a lot of cutting to do,” Mosier said. The school board will adjust its budget at the June 20 meeting.”

  4. I never understood what exactly was so bad about half-day kindergarten. That’s what I had and I think I turned out okay….

  5. Greg Kline said

    The schools are fine over here. My daughter goes to a Blue Ribbon public elementary school which has great teachers and plenty of support.

    The educational establishment will always want more money. That is why we have a tax cap and elect tax conscious leaders, which would include the school board if we could elect them.

    God’s country is not that far away. You all are always welcome.

  6. Freemarket said

    Joshusa- what are your general thoughts on school vouchers for HoCo? Maybe a little more competition from private schools would force the public schools to be more efficient with the funds they are given. Vouchers may also ease some of the necessary capital expenditures for new public schools.

  7. Joshua Kaufman said

    Vouchers in general – while the research is not unanimous, it is pretty compelling. Vouchers do not significantly raise the test scores of students in inner city schools when everything else is factored out (parent’s marriage status and education level, health, income, etc.). In fact, when vouchers or school placements are handed out based on a lottery system, even those kids that lose do better than there peers at their local school, as their parents are more involved (why else would they put their kid into the lottery).

    Vouchers in HoCo – I think this would be a waste of tax dollars. It would do nothing to further the common good, but it would save some people some money that are likely to send their kids to Glenelg Country Day School anyway.

    By what basis would one argue that vouchers are needed here, unless your argument is that the performance of the public schools should not be part of the equation and that competition (which by the way vouchers do not really provide even when they are in use to the extent that they lead to public school reform) will have a real-life benefit in any educational context in the country?

  8. Freemarket said

    Giving people a choice in schools would be a waste of tax dollars and do nothing to further the common good? That is pretty arrogant, quite frankly. Show me some “compelling” data against vouchers. The studies you refer to have been far from compelling. Public Schools are pretty good in HoCo, and yet hundreds of HoCo residents pay tens of thousands of dollars per year to send their kids to Glenelg Country School. I find it a bit odd that education spending in HoCo is so high, and everyone takes it a priori that the government monopoly on education should continue. Why are we so afraid of vouchers?

  9. Freemarket said

    “In fact, when vouchers or school placements are handed out based on a lottery system, even those kids that lose do better than there peers at their local school, as their parents are more involved (why else would they put their kid into the lottery).”

    So basically you are saying that parents who are involved in their children’s education want vouchers. Yet we should not provide them. How does your reasoning make any sense?

  10. Hi.

    Nice site! And some really helpful information there. I’m sorry for beeing a little off-topic, but I want to ask you about the design of this site. Did you make this template yourself or got from any templates website? I am using joomla myself, but want something better..

  11. timactual said

    Thanks for the graphs. Pichers iz so much eezier to unnerstand then wurds.

    I did some reading about schools & funding some time ago, and from what I read there is very little correlation between increased funding and increased student performance. Since WWII, class sizes have decreased, per pupil expenditures have increased, teacher compensation has increased, while student performance has not shown any great improvement.

    As for vouchers, why not? Even if they do no great good, they certainly do no harm, so why do people oppose them so strongly? From what I have read, every voucher is worth only a fraction of the actual money, per pupil, that is spent by the government. This actually benefits those left behind; smaller class sizes and higher per pupil funding. How else can you achieve these two critical(according to the education industry) goals without increasing taxes?

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