Representatives of more than 20 businesses, ranging from major utilities to motels, protested a tax increase on equipment yesterday at a public hearing before the Prince George's County Council.

The council will vote Tuesday on whether to raise t w0135 ----- r d BC-06/24/83-PRINCE 06-24 0001 P.G. Businesses Oppose Raising Equipment Tax By Lisa Swenarski Washington Post Staff Writer

Representatives of more than 20 businesses, ranging from major utilities to motels, protested a tax increase on equipment yesterday at a public hearing before the Prince George's County Council.

The council will vote Tuesday on whether to raise the tax on personal business property, such as typewriters, trucks and energy generators, by 37 percent to $3.57 per $100 of assessed value, a move that would raise $10.5 million for the county. County Executive Parris Glendening has said that businesses, especially utilities, have had an unintended windfall of $30 million in the past three years since the enactment of TRIM, a voter-approved measure that limits all property taxes.

Speakers at the hearing said that the tax intended for businesses will end up being paid by consumers through higher prices.

"It's not going to do a thing but tax everyone else," said Charles Dukes, president of the county Chamber of Commerce.

Many of the opponents to the bill said the tax increase discriminates against businesses and would discourage companies from locating or expanding in Prince George's.

"It will force companies surveying areas for relocation to further analyze other counties that are also seeking new business," said Howard Aiken, vice president of Buck Distributing Co., which markets Miller beer.

But several citizens told the council they supported the tax plan.

"We can't let the police department and school system deteriorate further. Then the business climate would not be good," said John Sisson, president of the Prince George's Educators' Association.

Mahlon Curran, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, "In my 1 1/2-years in office we've buried three police officers. At the same time we were ordered make a reduction of 36 officers. I find it appalling that businesses would be opposed to a tax increase to pay for county services."

If approved Tuesday, the tax would go into effect July 1.