Saturday, December 23, 2006

What A Hypocrite

The author and chief champion of the regressive senior tax cut, Chris Merdon, opposed a proposal for a property tax break aimed at helping low income families to own their own homes. Why?

In Mr. Merdon's words:

"Property taxes are to pay for services," he said. "We have to pay for our services somehow."

Somehow, I find it hard to believe that Mr. Merdon's chief priority in making property tax policy was helping the poor.


David W. Keelan said...

Talk about taking a quote out of context.

Council Chairman Christopher J. Merdon, a Republican candidate for county executive, said after the meeting that he would have to study the issue.

"Property taxes are to pay for services," he said. "We have to pay for our services somehow."

He also stressed his support in a housing bill approved by the council June 5 for allowing lower-income people to qualify for moderate-income housing.
This argument would carry more weight if we actually had a large supply of affordable housing. But considering the housing program has only been around for a few years and in that time it has had a minimal impact on affordability (read: it has produced a handful -- again, relative -- of houses), I don't think allowing residents to pay taxes only on what they actually own is going to have a noticable effect on county revenue.

Anonymous said...

What's your point Keelan? Cris was right, Chris didn't mean it, Chris was misquoted?

This hypocrite pushed a half-baked tax cut that could easily be abused by the wealthy (assets of $2 million but income of $70k/year), but could not push this?

Where is your objectivity?

David W. Keelan said...

Anon, I would be able to better judge you objectivity if you looked at the General Assembly legislation that permited the County legislation. That is where my objectivty on this topic starts.

Additionally, Merdon didn't say he wouldn't vote for lowering the taxes for people paying the full boat on a property of which they only own half. Where did he say he would not support such a tax break?

The County legislation for senior taxes is based upon the General Assembly legislation that outlined the revenue impacts by county, and specified eligibility criteria and gave the county the option of deciding eligibility criteria. If the County legislation followed the General Assembly legislation why would you characterize it as "half-baked"?

All votes in the General Assembly were affirmative. No one in the General Assembly voted against this measure.

How many people have assets of $2M living on $75K per year? I don't think many are. How are you defining assets? Are you including the home/house? A house is an asset that doesn't generate income until it is sold.

Merdon carefully considered this Senior tax legislation. He led on the issue.

He also was considering lowering the property tax burden for buyers of subsidized homes in Howard County. Where did he say he would not support it after he studied the issue? Who presented this idea to the County Council and who was leading the effort?

Why didn't they propose legislation to fix the problem for afforable housing property taxpayers? If it had the backing why didn't anyone push it, or write legislation and present it to the county council? Ulman and Ball could have just as easily as Merdon could have.

Which of these is a priority for the county? How many seniors are being taxed out of their homes and how many people in affordable housing are being taxed out of their homes? How does the county prioritize the needs of each group? I don't know - maybe on which group generates more taxable income?

That is where my objectivity stands. You say he is a hypocrite because he had to study the issue more closely. I call it due diligence. You say the senior tax cut was half baked. I say he did his due diligence.