Tag Archives: tax increase

Pr. George’s schools programs trimmed to fit scaled-back budget

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A divided Prince George’s County Board of Education adopted a downsized $1.8 billion budget Thursday night, cutting programs that would have been funded by a proposed property-tax increase rejected by the County Council.

Schools chief Kevin Maxwell presented a revised budget to the board last week after County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) failed to generate the support needed for his ambitious plan to raise the tax rate 15 percent and increase school spending by $133 million.

The council instead approved a smaller tax increase that would produce about a quarter of the funding Maxwell says he needs to expand programs and boost student achievement.

Maxwell’s latest plan was approved by the school board on a 7-to-3 vote, with two abstentions. It maintains existing programs but does not include the rapid expansion he had sought for several initiatives. These included universal pre-kindergarten, dual-enrollment in high school and college courses, talented and gifted programs, digital literacy and the hiring of parent-school liaisons.

In addition, teachers will not receive increased retention pay or stipends for national board certification. Arts and foreign language programs will also not spread to all county schools, and an effort to provide free breakfast to all students will not come to fruition. >>> See changes here >>>(bbe491_8d2b4f2cb1e043f991186593dc93bca5)

“This is our best recommendation of how we move forward,” Maxwell said.

Board Chair Segun Eubanks said he was “satisfied, given our limitations, that we made the best choices we could make.”

But the cuts infuriated some board members, ratcheting up a controversy about funding schools designed specifically for first- and second-generation immigrants.

The budget preserves funding for two international high schools that would cater to English-language learners who are struggling in traditional classes. One would operate at a separate Bladensburg facility and the other within Largo High School.

The NAACP has criticized the schools, calling the initiatives segregation. Immigrant advocacy organizations such as CASA of Maryland say such schools exist across the country and provide options for a challenged population. PGCPS is not performing well because the work has not been about the students’ success, but rather it is about adults and their political agenda. Ejecting several staff members well connected to Mr. Rushern Baker III and Dr. Kevin Maxwell to “eat” from students reserve fund is not the answer!

Report was compiled By Arelis R. Hernández of the Washington Post and Reform Sasscer Movement contributed.  


Prince George’s County Exec. Vetoes Tax Increase for Parks


County Executive Baker playing bad politics following the footsteps of his predesor promises veto power. According to Washington Post, the last time in 2003,  Jack Johnson county executive then and the Council adopted a budget that increased the M-NCPPC tax rate by 4.8 cents or 57 percent. Johnson vetoed the measure, calling it “unnecessary” at a time when “our school system is in need of major improvements.” Sound familiar?

For only the second time in his tenure, Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III said Monday he will use his veto power to reject the Council-backed tax increase for the government’s park and planning agency.

With one of the county’s newest recreational facilities serving as a backdrop in Oxon Hill, Baker said in a news conference he was “appalled” by the Council’s levying a 1.5-cent tax increase that Prince Georgians will pay for a park system that ranks among the best in the country. Meanwhile, the schools are among the lowest-performing in Maryland.

“Look at this facility…I am proud of what we have,” he said. But “it is not fiscally prudent to invest more dollars…It is not necessary. It is not practical, strategic or visionary.”

The Council adopted a budget last month that called for a smaller property tax increase (4-cents) than the one Baker endorsed (15-cents) to pay for an ambitious school reform package of academic programs, increased teacher pay and improved facilities.

Better schools is the missing element of the county executive’s agenda to raise the quality of life in Prince George’s while attracting new families and businesses to the suburb. But the plan was met with outrage from residents still crawling out from under a housing crisis that decimated household wealth.

Lawmakers adopted a slimmed-down budget, calling it a more “fiscally responsible” accounting of the county’s financial constraints. In total, taxpayers will see a 5.5-cent tax increase that Council Chair Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) says will help solve structural deficits and pay for obligatory teacher pension costs.

In the meantime, Franklin predicted the veto will be overridden by the council immediately.

>>> Read Mashington Post >>>Read Wusa9pgcpslogo_blue-blackPRINCE-large




Opposition mounts to Prince George’s proposed tax increase.

Opponents say measure should be brought to referendum vote.


County Executive Rushern Baker III proposed 15 percent tax increase to fund a $133 million county increase

Fort Washington resident Earl O’Neal said he is enraged by County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s proposed 15 percent tax increase to fund a $133 million county increase in the school system budget.

“There is no doubt that there is great need in Prince George’s County. But money is not going to fix what is wrong with our schools,” O’Neal said during Monday’s County Council meeting. Thirteen people spoke out against the tax increase, and no one spoke in favor.

Approximately 45 people were in attendance.

Baker is proposing raising residential and commercial property taxes approximately 15 percent to fund a large increase in education spending by the county. He is also proposing increasing the telecommunications tax from 8 percent to 12 percent.

Approximately $127.9 million would be raised to go towards the county school system’s request of $117.5 million in addition to the $15.5 million maintenance of effort increase required under state law.

Maryland state law requires school systems to maintain as a minimum, the per pupil funding amount in the previous year, referred to as maintenance of effort.

Should the tax increase go into effect, Prince George’s would have one of the highest residential property tax rates in the state, trailing only Charles County and Baltimore city, according to data from the Maryland Department of Assessment and Tax Rate.

Tax Reform Initiative by Marylanders, or TRIM, is a county law dating back to 1978 that requires a public referendum to raise property taxes.

Baker’s office is citing a 2012 state law that allows counties to raise taxes above voter-imposed tax caps if the money is used for education.

Judy Robinson of Hyattsville, past chair of citizen committees PG Citizens for Tax Reform and Term Limitation and Truth iN Taxation, said that while the 2012 Senate Bill 848 may allow the county to violate its own charter in regards to raising taxes, she believes the county charter still applies in requiring a referendum vote on any tax increase.

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