Property Tax Lawsuit
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ABOUT THE PROPERTY TAX LAWSUIT: Price, et al v. Prince George’s County
Two county residents, Fred Price, Jr. and James K. Wass, have filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court to force our elected officials to follow our county law and get voter approval of any property tax increases. The plaintiffs are currently seeking donations to help fund the lawsuit.
In 2015, the County Executive and County Council passed a controversial $30 million property tax increase. The tax increase violated the law because it was not placed on the 2016 election ballot for voters to approve, as required by Section 818 of our county charter, also known as TRIM.
The Prince George’s County effective property tax rate is the highest of any jurisdiction in the entire Washington D.C. metropolitan region. For example, a home valued at $250,000 would pay over $1,000 more in property taxes in Prince George’s County than in Montgomery County.
It is unacceptable for county elected officials to raise our property taxes without voter approval because many county residents are struggling with foreclosures and the average home value in the county is still well below the pre-2007 Mortgage Crisis level. We need higher home values not higher taxes.
MESSAGE FROM PLAINTIFF FRED PRICE, JR.
"In the 2012 legislative session Senate Bill 848 chapter 6 of 2012 education was passed.
In 2015 Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker proposed a budget tax increase of 15% for the 2016 budget but voters were outraged. They join together across party lines — Republicans , Democrats and independents — to successfully oppose this blatant disregard for the taxpayer. I believe this was an intended bait and switch believing voters would forget that these tax increases, as stated in the charter, are required to be approved by voters as a referendum question during the next election. True to form in disrespecting the taxpayer, the county did not follow the TRIM provision of our county charter.
James K Wass of Riverdale and I filed a lawsuit in the matter of Fred Price, et al v. Prince George's County, MD et al (CAE 16-37806 in the Circuit Court of Prince Georges County). On January 23, 2018, Judge Herman C Dawson in the Prince George’s County Circuit Court of Maryland filed his order in favor of the County. Jim and others have filed a appeal to the Court of special appeals of Maryland, in Annapolis .
Judge Dawson ruled that indeed it was a tax increase and that the county had permission from the state (Senate Bill 848/chapter 6 of 2012) to raise taxes without submitting them to charter referendum .
I believe this type of disrespect of what the voters of the Prince George County voted for year after year must end. Before elected officials decide to increase property taxes, let them follow the charter and put it on the ballot as a referendum question.
Masters Miller and Baker and the puppets that represent Prince Georges County in the General Assembly have set a precedent. We need to know before the 2018 election if candidates running for office in Prince George’s County will respect the Voters.
Mike Miller and Rushern Baker are not our fathers who know best. Trust the voters and do the right thing."
-- Fred Price, Plaintiff Price v. Prince George’s County