The petition drive that stopped the use of Prince George's County authority to tax telephone service has succeeded, according to Maryland Secretary of State Fred Wineland.
WIneland said he has verified 12,685 signatures from those submitted by the Prince George's Citizens Against Nuisance Taxes (CANT) on June 30. The group needed 12,144 signatures to force a referendum on the omnibus taxing authority, which allowed the telephone tax. The referendum will be held as part of the general election in November 1978.
As a result, the county has been prevented from raising $7 million through use of the tax and must make up the revenues through an increase in the real property tax rate. Last month in special evening session, the council set the tax rate at $3.41 per $100 assessed value of real property, 14 cents more than they had decided on when they passed the budget in May.
The CANT group filed their first set of names on June 1 which set off an information campaign on the part of the county executive's office about the effects of the petition drive on the property tax rate. A number of petition signers called the executive's office, according to aide John Lally, to find out how to take their names off the petition.
Wineland, who as a Prince George's County resident signed a petition himself, said he received "only three letters, to my recollection, that requested their names be taken off the petitions." Wineland said he forwarded the requests to the county supervisor during the name count.