The Prince George's County Council voted yesterday to support two money-raising bills submitted to the state General Assembly by County Executive Parris Glendening in an effort to offset a projected $30 million deficit.
One bill would allow the county to increase its surcharge on the state income tax, and the other would permit the county to impose new taxes on some large corporations.
After meeting with Gov. Harry Hughes last week, Glendening learned that Hughes would not support his favorite solution to the county's fiscal problems: a one-cent local sales tax. He said yesterday he had decided to focus on the measures he brought before the council.
Glendening met with council members individually last week and appeared before a council committee on Monday and the full council yesterday to request the vote as a demonstration of unity before he attended a strategy meeting with leaders of the county's state legislative delegation.
The corporate tax bill would uncouple real and personal property tax rates now applied to some large corporations including gas and electric utilities. The bill would enable the county to charge the so-called personal property tax for certain large equipment and machinery, raising an estimated $10 million.
The income tax measure would raise about $22.8 million by permitting the county to collect 60 percent of the amount of income tax county residents pay to the state, up from 50 percent. The measure would add about $74 ($54 after federal income tax deduction) to the tax bill of the average resident and would expire in two years. Without the money, Glendening said, the county would face layoffs and service reductions.
Council members voted unanimously to support the first bill, but members Anthony Cicoria and Sue Mills voted against the income tax proposal, saying they could not support a tax increase of any kind. Cicoria said he supported the first bill because it would affect only businesses. Mills said later the first bill, for which she voted, was not a tax increase but "an adjustment" to bring corporate tax rates in line with those of other jurisdictions.
The council also continued a fractious debate over the location of the southern Green Line Metro route for over an hour yesterday before narrowly voting to postpone a final decision until Feb. 22.