Carroll's teachers and other school employees are fooling no one by opposing the proposed charter. They say the tax cap contained in the charter might hinder the county's ability to raise revenue and might ultimately harm the county's police protection, emergency services and public education.
Why don't these groups come clean and admit that the public's interest is not their paramount concern? Instead, they ought to acknowledge they are much more worried about the impact this tax cap might have on their own pay and benefits. Otherwise, they don't have any reason to be working so hard against the charter question on Tuesday's ballot.
There are a multitude of problems with the proposed charter, and the tax limit is certainly one of them. The absence of an elected county executive is another fundamental problem with the charter. Even with those flaws, we have advocated its approval because the commissioner form of government is no longer serving the interest of Carroll's growing citizenry. Once the charter is passed, the council and residents have ample opportunity to amend and perfect the charter.
Even the U.S. Constitution -- one of the world's better drafted government documents -- has been amended 26 times. Certainly, the Carroll County charter could be amended if needed.
As proposed, the charter would limit the county's real property tax rate annual increases to the cost of living for the Baltimore area. (Voters should also know that had the cap been applied retroactively to previous tax increasesm they all would have come in under the limit.)
Although four members of the five-member County Council could override the cap, that would be virtually impossible in this political climate. The benefits of charter governmment outweight the plan's deficiencies, however; the tax cap provision can and should be changed later.
By opposing the charter, the coalition of four education groups is hTC saying they want to preserve the existing form of government. They also are indicating they don't like self-government and would rather continue with the unrepresentative and unaccountable commissioner form of government. What the *T county's educators are primarily saying, however, is that their interests are more important than giving the citizens a meaningful voice in their own affairs.