LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I see that part of what I was campaigning on is unfortunately coming to fruition. "Revenue from important real estate tax declining." The Recorder Oct. 6. The article was in reference to the excise tax collected on new home construction. Could it be that building slowed down because of "...high fuel prices or declining residential growth rates?" Doubtful. Residential growth has slowed because of a tightening of the easy money and credit spigot.
This is just the beginning of revenue shortfalls that will hit the County in the short future. Already, sales of existing homes in Calvert County are down approximately 19% over this time last year. The 2007 County budget is expecting $9 million in revenue from recordation and transfer taxes. If these numbers hold up, the County will be short an additional $1,710,000. This number could be far greater if home prices are lower over home sales of this time last year, which I expect them to be. If property assessments go down in the future, as I also expect, there will be far less County tax revenue as well. Also, since the median income has only risen .5% over the past 5 years, relative to inflation, and unemployment slowly creeping up, I also expect State and County income tax receipts to be lower as well.
How are the Calvert County Commissioners going to make up the coming large shortfalls? By raising taxes on your deflating asset, (your home)? Your ever shrinking take home pay? Businesses? Remember, if taxes go up on businesses, the product or service you want, or need, will have to go up in price as well to compensate for the increase their taxes that aren't taken directly from you, (property, income taxes, fees, etc.).
I have a novel idea. How about you, the citizens, start demanding now of the County Commissioners and Commissioner candidates, to reduce spending? We can start by eliminating the "Non-County Agencies" operating budget, a savings of $1,366,981. Non-County Agencies are not a part of the County Government. This is feel good money spent outside of necessary government operations.
There are many more ways to reduce spending, but you, the people, must get involved. Such as limiting County employee and education employee wage increases to that of the private sector employees. i.e. If private sector wages increase .5% per year then County workers get the same or less. Not 3%, not 4%, but equal or less of those that pay the taxes.
You could also start by demanding less from Government, (your neighbors). Do you really "need" a $13 Million dollar indoor swimming pool? No. It's just "nice" to have. You have no right to demand of your neighbors to pay for something that is not a true, "societal need." Such as fire and rescue, police and education.
Government works best from the bottom up. At present it's working from the top down. If you still want a, "Government of the People, By the People, For the People," you had best wake up and get involved. If you don't, well, don't complain, any increase in taxes, restriction of rights, freedoms, and liberties, will all be your fault! And people wonder what's wrong with the government, the people (lazy and complacent citizens) are!
Don't wait until it's too late to do something. Turn off "Survivor" and spend that hour researching what is going on in County Government. Turn off "Deal or No Deal" and spend that hour researching what's going on in State Government. Turn off "Dancing with the Stars" and research what is going on with the Federal Government. If you find something that you do not like, then contact your representative at the Local, State, or Federal level. Unfortunately, our "representatives," it seems, only represent when they here from you. So let them here from you. Loudly! You can start here http://www.co.cal.md.us/.
Patrick Edward Flaherty
St. Leonard, MD 20685
Editor's Note: Mr. Flaherty was a Republican candidate for Calvert County Commissioner of District 1 in the 2006 Primary Election.