Monday, May 05, 2008

Nancy Floreen Calls for Across-the-Board Spending Cuts

Montgomery County Council Member Nancy Floreen challenged all county agencies to present a plan to cut their budgets by 2% below the County Executive's proposal on her blog today.

Floreen contends that a 2% across-the-board cut would enable the council to chop the County Executive's property tax increase in half. However, because she would still break the charter limit, her proposal would require seven votes to pass. Floreen argues:

As far as I am concerned, the proposed tax burden is untenable, particularly for the average homeowner facing increased fuel, food and health care costs. I am afraid that this budget is way out of line. In today’s economy, it is unaffordable... I know my colleagues have put their hearts into trying to limit spending. But I don’t believe we have gone far enough. Our neighbors in Fairfax County, the District of Columbia, and Prince George’s County are looking at budget increases of no more than 1.3%. We in Montgomery County need to join the rest of the region in looking toward a more sustainable budget.
It is impossible to overstate the turmoil going on in Rockville right now over the budget. Two council members - Duchy Trachtenberg and Phil Andrews - oppose a property tax increase, enough votes to kill it. Council Member Trachtenberg is eyeing the county's labor contracts for savings. The County Council's Education Committee voted to restore $26 million for public schools and $9.1 million for Montgomery College last week. How can resistance to the property tax hike, increases for education, adherence to union contracts and Floreen's call for across-the-board cuts be reconciled?

We'll find out soon enough. Zero hour for the budget is next week.