Acting Maryland Gov. Blair Lee II yesterday proposed a 3-cent cut in the state's property tax for the next fiscal year that would reduce the levy to 20 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
This proposal, which would require approved of both the state legislature and the Board of Public Works, would mean a $9 tax cut for the owner of a $60,000 home. The loss in state revenue resulting from such a tax cut would be approximately $10.8 million, according to Lee's press secretary Thom Burden.
A few weeks ago, other state officals, including comptroller Louis Goldstein, adovated cutting the state's property tax rate by as much as 10 cents. Lee repeatedly has cautioned that tax reductions should be balanced out among the various forms of taxation, and not confined to the property tax rate alone.
The statewide property taxes, which been steadily rising, pushing tax bills on the state's debts, are only a small portion of the total tax burden on a home owner. For instance, the present base tax rate in Montgomery County is $2.89 per $100 of assessed valuation, and in Prince George's County the rate is $3.41 - as compared with the present state rate of 23 cents.
The proposed change in the state rate would have no effect on these local rates nor on local assessments, which in suburban Maryland have been steadily rising, pushing tax bills up with them.
The money to pay the proposed tax cut, Lee said, would come from surplus revenues of $128 million, which the state is expected to raise by next July 1.
This surplus derives largely from the continued success of the state's daily lottery program, which went into effect in August, 1976, and has since done a brisk business, surpassing all expectations of state officials.
After he brought up the subject of his proposed cut in the state property tax rate at his press conference yesterday, Lee refused to divulge further details of his proposed budget. He finished work on this document yesterday, and is expected to offer it to the state legislature in mid-January.