Hi. Steve Schuh believes in smaller, less tax-intensive government. He’s officially a Tea Party Republican. That’s his philosophy.
It’s no secret that candidates do their best to get voters’ attention. Of course they do. Getting voters to pay attention, to you instead of your opponent, is, after all, what campaigning is all about. Nothing wrong with that, not necessarily, as long as candidates don’t over-promise what they can’t or shouldn’t deliver even if they could.
Unfortunately, given that both he and his Democratic opponent have sworn that they will not raise taxes, Mr. Schuh, in the name of political one-upmanship, has promised that he will lower property rates by 3%. The video below is a Schuh campaign commercial. If you watch it, you’ll see Steve make his 3% promise, without qualifications or special conditions.
Let’s talk about Mr. Schuh’s 3% cut in property tax rates from two per perspectives starting with what it might mean to you and your family.
As you may know from having read Reason #1, Mr. Schuh is one of the founding members of the Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus – although it isn’t something he talks a lot about now that he’s running for County Executive.
Steve’s a Tea Party Republican who says that he believes in lower taxes and smaller government. And, even more good news, he says that lowering property taxes will encourage development of the county by attracting new business to it. But how exactly does that work?
Let’s walk through it together… Steve saves us some money when he lowers our property tax rates. We spend that money on what? Some food. Entertainment. Bills. College tuition for our kids. The vacation we haven’t taken in a couple of years, whatever. What we don’t do is give it companies as an incentive for them to move here. There’s no development impact, is there?
Come to think of it, how much exactly is Steve talking about saving us?
The county property tax rate in all of Anne Arundel County, except Annapolis, is 91 cents per $100 of assessed value. If my house is assessed for, let’s say, $100,000, my property tax is $910 a year. That’s a lot of money. Okay, so let’s say that Mr. Schuh reduces my property taxes by 3%. He’s going to save my family and me $27.30. Per year. That’s an average of $2.28 per month. $2.28 per month. Is that all Steve Schuh thinks you vote is worth?
Okay, I promised you two perspectives. Here’s the other, collective one. What’s the total, overall impact on the county?
Round numbers, a 3% reduction in your property tax rates will cut Anne Arundel County property tax revenues by $18 million.
Are you kidding me? The “So what?” part is that starting teachers, police officers and firemen and women make about $45,000 per year. Divide $18 million by $45,000 and you get 400. That’s how many teachers, police officers and/or firemen and women the county will no longer be able to afford if Steve Schuh cuts property taxes by 3% – and then doesn’t make up the difference in new property tax revenues as a result of all the economic development he’s promising.
Is that a chance you want to take? That Steve can’t make up the difference with economic development so that the county find itself unable to pay 400 of its teachers, police officers and firemen and women, including the emergency response personal that come when you call 911? All that to buy your vote for a whopping $27.30 a year? I wouldn’t and you know why? Because he can’t possibly do what he’s promising.
The simple reason is that there’s a lag, a lag of months, even years, between the moment he lowers property tax rates and when all that resultant development he’s promising takes place – if it takes place.
At the risk of being disrespectful, Steve Schuh’s 3% property rate reduction is a joke, and not the funny kind. He’s a bright guy who obviously knows a great deal about business. He knows better and is just making promises to get your vote because he thinks that you don’t get it. It’s dishonest, fiscally irresponsible and disrespectful of the voters of Anne Arundel County.