The energy tax in Montgomery County represents a difference of $112 million on the county budget.
Business leaders in Montgomery County are not pleased with county executive Isiah Leggett's plan to extend an energy tax increase, but even so, it appears they are not likely to make a difference.
The County Council okayed raising the tax two years ago, with the caveat that the hike was a temporary fix during the worst of the recession and the fee would eventually be rescinded. The county executive's budget proposal for next fiscal year keeps the increase in place indefinitely, which has groups like the Montgomery County Chamber Of Commerce very upset. Council president Roger Berliner met with the group this morning.
"The business community feels very strongly with respect to this matter, and I don't blame them at all," says Berliner. "The county council sunsetted this tax and that was due to expire this year. On the other hand, at that time, none of us knew the depth of this recession that we are hopefully just coming out of now."
Berliner says that without the tax hike, the council would have to cut over $110 million from the budget, which could scuttle plans by the county executive to hire additional police.