By Matt Bush
Lawmakers in Montgomery County are tinkering with county executive Isiah Leggett's plan to raise the energy tax. Leggett's proposal would hike the tax more than 60 percent.
Many businesses believe they will shoulder more of the burden than residents, with one estimate saying certain bio-tech firms in the county would pay a half-a-million dollars more on their energy bills next year.
Council members are looking at changing the way Leggett's plan would raise the money, and shifting more of it to residents. Council president Nancy Floreen says there's an advantage to increasing the energy tax, because not everyone pays property tax, the county's main source of income.
"The appeal of the energy tax has always been that we were able to spread it more broadly throughout the community," says Floreen.
Under Leggett's current proposal, the average homeowner would pay about $5 more per month. The tax has been increased several times over the past ten years, with the largest increase coming in 2003. That cost the average homeowner around $40 a year.