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mew en sts0sss ne S GATHERSSURG,MD LUNITED FOOD & COMMERCIAL WORKERS LOCAL 198 5 si SOUTH FREDERCCAVENLE Sure 0 000-000-0000 pel Gao Rene Pasomit (Yate CUE SecarancTHeasnch FINELUIN Ransome Recoroen Montgomery County Delegation Thursday December 11, 2008 Testimony Robert A. Stewart Executive Director UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO in support of Bill # MC 906-09 Montgomery County Split Rate Property Tax Authority a Good evening, members of the Montgomery County Delegation. My name is Bob Stewart, Executive Director of UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO. !_am here today to strongly urge your support for MC 906-09; the Montgomery County Split Rate Property Tax Authority. Our union represents approximately 10,000 members in the greater Washington Metropolitan area, including 6,800 employees who work for Montgomery County Government. It is the work our members do, along with the thousands of other public employees who are custodians, teachers, firefighters and police officers that goes a long way in producing the quality of life our citizens enjoy here. As public employees it is no secret that our members jobs and benefits derive from a tax base that is vibrant, growing and fair-the same tax base that produces the quality services and schools which make people want to stay here and come here to live and raise their families. With the recent passage of Question B, Montgomery County is just a small step away from the kind of Property Tax Limitation initiative which has burdened and eroded the services in our next door neighbor of Prince George's County. The public sector labor community has, every two years for almost two decades , Vice PRESDINS| M LiNeTIE AsoRsivs Baker Crem CananicTow Ut ANTOIY Chast Sea Counts Pauuerte KEEDLOUEY ‘Grecony Gocau Baneavs Jackson Roser Lexan (1 CAG LONGCOR SUSAN SHITHEREE Tony Teonas © Kase TUCKTRAN sen Dec 15 08 11: 000-000-0000 pee provided the lions share of the financial burden to fight these initiatives, on behalf of the entire community. Every year we were joined by the leadership in the business community and the political structure, to defeat these initiatives- every year except this year, when with few exceptions this business and political leadership all but abandoned the fight and Question B's passage was the result. With residential property owners displaying this kind of push-back, what should be done? MC 906-09, by de-coupling the commercial rates from the residential rates, increases the public policy tools in our’tool kit” of revenue options. According to a recent “County Council Working Group Report” (based on data from the county Dept. of Finance), the share of total county taxes paid by non- residential properties and business DECLINED from 21% to 16% between 1986 and FY 2008— a substantial shift in the tax burden from commercial and business interests to the residential property tax payer. This shift equals $140 Million per year!! With the ability of policy makers to raise the commercial rate separate from the residential rate, this imbalance could and should be addressed, thus relieving some pressure on residential payers. If residential property owners know in the future that policy makers are able to raise commercial rates higher than the residential rates, this may mitigate the political pressure against raising future property tax revenue and make it easier in the future to get to the nine votes needed to override the Question B limitations. The business and commercial interests here tonight in opposition to this bill know that they have “hidden this above referenced shift in burden” behind the residential homeowner rate, and it is not surprising that they want fo maintain the status quo. Their opposition is reminiscent of the recent opposition during the special session to adding higher tax rates to high income earners who have known for decades that a system that allowed them to pay state personal income tax at the same rate as people who change bed pans in hospitals or maids in hotels, was a good system for them, but not for the many. On behalf of our members who are also residential property tax payers who live in the county | hope you have the courage to make this public policy option available to our policy makers. Again we urge you to pass MC 906-09. MUNICIPAL & COUNTY GOVERNHENT EMPLOYEES ORGANIZATION W 620 SOUTH FREDERICK AVENUE #51708 GAITHERSAURG MD 10577