Montgomery County Executive Mark Elrich has proposed a 10-cent property tax increase that would raise an additional $220 million to fund education.
The increase is included in Elrich’s $6.8 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2024. The County Executive says the increase is needed to finance the Montgomery County Public School System’s budget request, which amounts to a $296 million increase from the current year funding.
State law requires the county to provide a minimum of $1.7 billion in local funding to its school system but the board’s request, the largest ever, seeks $272 million more than the maintenance-of-effort funding level. The Board’s budget letter to the Council cites the need to increase teacher salaries, funding universal pre-kindergarten and making Advanced Placement classes free for students.
Under the county charter, a tax increase for any other purpose would require votes of approval from all nine council members. Because the increase is intended to fund the public school budget, a 2012 state law that allows local governments to bypass charter limits on property taxes as long as the sole purpose of the tax increase is to fund education means that the council’s regular rules apply.
Queued up behind the property tax increase is another proposal from the County Executive that would sharply increase recordation tax rates.