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Dec 15 08 11:43a 900-000-0000 pel ‘State Heaoevarters 301.485.7008 phone 2720 Geary tere 301.495.9463 far ‘Sulke $00 ProgresiveMarsond org ‘Ser Spoeg. Macyand 20910 Contain ProgressiveMarylan rg Testimony of Progressive Maryland In Favor of MC906-09 December 11, 2008 Thank you, Messieurs Chairmen, for the opportunity to testify in favor of MC 906-09, a Montgomery County local bill that Del. Al Carr is proposing in the 2009 session of the General Assembly. Progressive Maryland is a nonprofit organization that defends the political interests of working families in our state. As such, we strongly believe that a vibrant public sector — good public schools, good transit, a clean environment — is a crucial ingredient of opportunity for working families. Everybody should pitch in to fund vital government services. But over the past decade or so, too much of the local tax burden in Montgomery County has been shifted away from businesses and on to individual taxpayers. And the problem is especially acute when it comes to property taxes — a fact that probably helps explain the success of the Ficker Amendment on November 4". This long term shift of the tax burden not only opens the door to misguided tax revolts, More importantly, it adds to the escalating cost of living endured by blue collar families in Montgomery County. Besides housing costs, working families in Montgomery County face higher costs in many areas inoluding energy and health care. The mortgage foreclosure crisis is making homeownership — the comerstone of the American Dream — tougher to afford. As the recession deepens, these costs are felt ever more acutely. MC 906-09 gives county iawmakers a tool to shield homeowners from too much of the local tax burden. This bill would enable (not require) Montgomery County to have different tax rates on different classes of real properly. For example, Montgomery County could establish a different rate for commercial real property vs. residential real property, Setting different tax rates for residential and commercial property is not new in Maryland Municipalities in Maryland (except Baltimore City) and the State have had this authority for many years. Moreover, the District of Columbia makes this distinction in its property tax rates. And other states around the country — notably Virginia — grant local Jurisdictions this authority. This bill if enacted would have no fiscal impact on the state. Progressive Maryland urges the Montgomery County delegation to the General Assembly to give this bill a favorable report. And we urge each member of the delegation to vote for this bill in committee and on the floor. Thank you.