By Matt Bush
Council members in Montgomery County, Maryland are giving businesses a break as they prepare to raise the county's energy tax.
The increase will now be split 50-50 between businesses and homeowners. Under the initial plan from County Executive Isiah Leggett, businesses would have shouldered far more of the burden.
Councilman George Leventhal says the council acted after certain businesses reported they could pay $500,000 more a year under Leggett's plan.
"It's a very large concession to the business community," says Leventhal. "We're in a box. We need the revenue."
Lisa Fadden of the county's chamber of commerce applauded making the increase an even split.
"In terms of economic development, the message sent to the business community about the importance of jobs, the energy tax has a really, really big impact on our ability to retain businesses here in the county and attract businesses," she says.
How much more businesses and homeowners will be paying has yet to be determined. But it could be more than a $100 per year for the average homeowner.