I was very disappointed when I read recently that Council-member Michael Blue is going to co-sponsor an increase of $1 in Recordation Fees. You might think I’m being stingy, and rightly so. Right now our Recordation Fee is $6.00 per $500, if passed the $1 increase would take it to $7.00 per $500.
Living in the City of Frederick I prefer to think of money in terms of logos. One logo, courtesy of Mayor Michael O’Connor, is $45,000. If this tax is increased, and that’s exactly what it is, the fee would become $630. But, who in Frederick County has a house on the market for that? Let’s take a house on the market for $450,000, the recordation fee is now $6,300 instead of the current $5,400.
Do you have an extra $900 to spend? I’m sure most of us don’t. Now, County Executive Gardner will tell you that we don’t have a transfer tax so this shouldn’t be too bad. This is like someone coming to you in your local grocery store and telling you they mistakenly rammed your car, but it’s okay, they’ll add solicitously, they only disabled one wheel. Oh, the luck!!
The intended destination for this new tax is admirable and commendable. Only part will go towards agricultural preservation. We need to protect as much of our agriculture as possible. The loss of farmland, forests, and our rural character is heartbreaking to say the least.
Ironically, a decent chunk of this near $7,000,000 budget increase would go to first time home buyer assistance. Any home buyer was once a first time home buyer. Why should a family seeking to move up, in or out of Frederick County now face an increased tax? Have we ever considered the high and higher taxes cause the need for home-buyer assistance in the first place? Perhaps if taxes were not so high assistance would not be needed as regularly.
Seriously though, if taxes continue to get higher in Frederick County they’ll soon receive equally billing in a Cheech and Chong movie.
According to Council-member Blue’s website, “I support lower taxes!” followed by the caveat, for which he deserves credit, “I am aware that is very unlikely in today’s environment.” There’s a difference between not lowering them and raising them. This isn’t an attack on Mr. Blue, just on his position on this issue.
I don’t have a problem with paying taxes or making wise investments. I have a problem with the taxpayer being treated like a piggy bank. Government on its own makes almost no revenue, this all comes from hard working Frederick Countians.
It wasn’t that long ago that all Frederick County taxpayers received a $100 check from the County. Now we are being asked, in the best Elizabeth Warren style possible to, “pay just a little bit more, to pay our fair share. We pay enough.