Dear local PTA leaders:

 

At the MCCPTA Delegates Assembly on Tuesday, September 28, 2004, the Delegates voted in favor of the resolution printed below  to oppose amendment of the County Charter as proposed by Question A on the 2004 ballot. We ask that your review the resolution, discuss within your local community and disseminate widely through your local PTA membership.  We are asking you to encourage your members to make copies of the resolution and share this information in their neighborhoods. Please also include this information in your PTA newsletter as well.  As you reprint the resolution for your community, please be sure to include the last line indicating that 'This message has been authorized and paid for by MCCPTA, Cindy Kerr, President" in order to comply with the election law requirements.

 

Also  pasted below for your information is a one page sheet that provided background to the delegates prior to the vote on this resolution.  This is for your information. The language was not specifically voted upon or authorized MCCPTA.  If you have additional questions or need more information please contact one of the MCCPTA Officers.

 

Thank you for your cooperation.

 

RESOLUTION  ON PROPOSED CHARTER AMENDMENT QUESTION A


      Whereas the MCPS Operating Budget accounts for approximately 46-48% of the County's Operating Budget, and MCPS requires substantial additional funds for school construction and rehabilitation;

      Whereas the County income tax rate is at the highest permissible  level, and although property tax rates have not increased, the County Council has found it necessary in recent years to authorize increases in property tax revenues that exceed the rate inflation in order to continue to provide services and facilities that are necessary and/or desired by residents of the County, including education services and education facilities;

      Whereas Question A on the November Montgomery County ballot would
limit the property tax revenue collected by Montgomery County, regardless of needs,
generally prohibiting the County Council from allowing property tax revenues to exceed the rate of inflation; and

      Whereas the current County Charter already provides that the  property tax rate cannot exceed the rate of inflation unless there is a super-majority vote of at least seven of the nine members of the Council.

It is hereby Resolved that

      MCCPTA declares its opposition to amendment of the County Charter as proposed by Question A on the 2004 ballot; and

      MCCPTA authorizes preparation and distribution of a statement of  MCCPTA opposition to, and information against, Question A; authorizes its local PTAs and their members to use that statement; and urges them to act to oppose Question A.


This message has been authorized and paid for by MCCPTA, Cindy Kerr, President.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION (not voted upon by MCCPTA)

 

THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL OF PTAS URGES YOU TO VOTE NO ON QUESTION A(THE FICKER AMENDMENT)

What is Question A?
      Question A is the latest Robin Ficker effort to limit the revenue collected by the County, regardless of our needs. Adoption of Question A would prevent property tax revenues from exceeding the rate of inflation. The current
County Charter limits increases in revenues to the rate of inflation except by vote of 7 of the 9 Council members. Question A would bar any increase over the rate of inflation, even by vote of all 9 Council members.

What Would Be The Effect of Question A?
      The County income tax is already at the highest level allowed by the State, so the limit on property tax revenues would necessarily limit funds to provide for services. The limitation would compound over the years. If Question A had been in effect for Fiscal Year 2004, there would have been a $12 million reduction in available revenue for that year, then a $48 million reduction in FY ‘05. Projections for FY ‘06 indicate a potential $94 million gap if Question A is approved.

The County Has Faced Difficult Budget Circumstances In Recent Years.
      In recent years, income tax collections have been lower and spending needs have increased. In education, the student population has increased at a rate of over 3000 students per year since 1990, there have been Federal and State mandated programs that are not adequately supported by those governments, there have been added costs due to changes in technology and security needs, increasingly greater percentages of the student population are students who it simply costs more to educate (such as Special Needs students and students for whom English is a second language) and our school buildings are getting older. The County has also experienced increased costs for public safety, homeland security, and social services. At the same time, State distributions to the County were decreased in a number of areas

The Adverse Impact Of Question A Would Be Bad For Everyone In
Montgomery County!
      Since the County Schools receive about half of the County operating budget, the reduction in revenues that would have occurred this past year would likely have meant a loss of $24 million to the school system. A strong school system is important to everyone in the County, including those who do not currently have children in the school system. Efforts to retain and attract businesses will be hindered if we can not ensure employers that they will find well-educated graduates and good schools for the children of their employees. Additionally, erosion of our school system will erode property values. If the Schools’ budget was not part of an across-the-board reduction in funding, that would mean big cuts in other important County programs such as police, fire, transportation and social services.

Question A Is Not Necessary!
      The current Charter requires a super majority of 7 of 9 votes for an increase in property tax revenues above the rate of inflation. If proponents of Question A feel the County is not spending money wisely, they can argue against certain expenditures; it takes only 5 votes to approve a budget. Or proponents of Question A can try to change the members of the Council. But we do not need to amend the Charter.

      Please Be Sure to Vote Against Question A!