I am very concerned with recent news stories that state that the majority of taxpayers in Montgomery County won't mind another tax increase. These stories referred to a telephone survey of 646 county residents conducted by the county Budget Office and residents' comments at public forums.
Residents have been hit with at least five sizable tax increases within the past year. Although we may pay less in federal taxes, we will pay more to the state. And let us not forget that the more the state gets, the more the county gets in "piggyback" income taxes.
The state is now collecting five cents more per gallon in increased gasoline taxes. Our automobile tags now cost more. Our property tax rate in Montgomery County has been increased. And our property is reassessed every three years: always upward, year after year. The cost of trash pickup continues to increase.
To make matters worse, our county executive, who promised to return the "windfall" monies to the taxpayers, now implies that, with increased budgetary needs for FY 89 amounting to another $75 million, he may have to use the windfall tax monies to try to avoid another tax rate increase.
At the same time, Sidney Kramer has committed the taxpayers of Montgomery County to share the maintenance cost on a small segment of road on privately owned property within Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center. This small segment amounts to approximately 800 feet, almost one-sixth of a mile. The Montgomery County Taxpayers League, in protesting the use of taxpayers' money on private property, suggested that a compromise solution might have been to allow the lighter buses to use the Mall and deny use by the heavier Metrobuses.
With all this in mind, how many taxpayers in Montgomery County won't mind another tax increase? How many retired people on fixed incomes or single, working parents were included in this telephone survey? How many residents who weren't asking for funding of a pet project spoke at the public forums?
The Montgomery County Taxpayers League, in its "windfall tax" petition drive earlier this year, discovered decidedly different citizen sentiment from that shown in the county Budget Office survey and the public forums. With more than 27,000 signatures presented to the legislature, most were from Montgomery County, and the refusal rate was less than 5 percent.
I implore our public officials to define the necessities and cut back on the frills. Remember the perception of Montgomery County held by state legislators as we fund three new golf courses and ask for additional state funds to build schools or fund art on bridges and ask for more state funding of roads.
CAROL F. WALLACE Chairman, Montgomery County Taxpayers League, Inc. Bethesda