Signs of life in the BaltCo GOP?
Most of the action so far in the race to replace BaltCo Exec. Jim Smith has been on the Democratic side, with two or three councilmen raising money and preparing for a run next year. On the Republican side, there hasn't been much going on -- nobody's raising much money or making many waves.
But a letter to the editor in yesterday's paper piqued my interest. It was written by Steve Bailey, a Republican who has run county-wide before. (He was Sandy O'Connor's hand-picked successor as state's attorney, but he lost to Scott Shellenberger, Jim Smith's hand-picked candidate for the seat.) I ask you, does this read like a letter from someone who might be interested in running for office? Sounds like it to me:
Every year for the past six years, Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. has submitted a budget that spends more than the previous year ("Balto. County avoids budget blues," April 15). And every year, Mr. Smith claims, and the media dutifully report, that his budget holds the line on property taxes.
What Mr. Smith refuses to acknowledge and the media often fail to report is that although the property tax rate has remained the same, the amount of tax that many homeowners pay has increased 4 percent a year each year Mr. Smith has been in office.
That's because every year, the county is allowed to increase by 4 percent the portion of the value of the property that is subject to the property tax.
In 2002, the year Mr. Smith took office, I paid $2,600 in property taxes on my Towson home. In 2008, I paid $3,300 on the same property. By the time he leaves office, I will be paying $3,570 a year in property taxes.
Thank goodness for term limits.
I can't afford to have Mr. Smith fighting to protect me from the tax man.