Transfer Tax Increase

Would Benefit Schools

The transfer tax is a necessary evil. We need more schools, and we have limited resources to accomplish this. For those people against the transfer tax, be prepared for another tax to hit your wallets. We just cannot continue to overlook the fact that our current schools are crowded. This is not a future problem. It is a current problem, and it is only going to get worse.

County officials need financial help to build these schools, and if they can't rely on the state to help with the near-term funding, they have to come to us. When deciding about whether to support the transfer tax, consider the following scenarios: a homeowner who has lived in Howard County for 20 to 30 years in the same home. They are now empty nesters, yet proud Howard County homeowners. An across-the-board tax affects everyone, including these homeowners who have no children and who never intend to sell their home while they are alive. Should these homeowners bear the tax burden? No.

Contrast that homeowner with a new Howard County homeowner who is moving in from out of state and decides to settle in Howard County. They have two children in the school system and are moving into western Howard County. Should they bear the tax burden? By all means, yes. Certainly as far as school construction is concerned. Lastly, consider the homeowner who bought a starter home in eastern Howard County and sells it to relocate to western Howard County. Should he bear the tax burden? By all means, yes. Already being a Howard County resident does not absolve one from continuing to make a financial commitment to this county.

It is troubling to hear that there are organizations lobbying Howard County's delegation to vote against the transfer tax because it hurts their pocketbooks. If current residents of Howard County were to place an advertisement that mentioned the crowded county public schools, do you think new homeowners would still consider Howard County as a place to live regardless of the transfer tax percentage? When can we stop talking about the money and start focusing on the children and their education?

Smart growth was not smart when it didn't create the infrastructure to support the blossoming growth in the east and limited growth in the rural west, where schools are still overpopulated. We need more elementary schools and quickly. There is not time to waste. Advertisements for Howard County's crowded school system could be just around the corner. Think of how that will affect the real estate and builders' businesses!

Wendy Moomaw

Ellicott City