The argument between Messrs. Leopold and Maxwell goes back a year to the introduction of the executive's budget for fiscal 2012. Mr. Leopold, like many local leaders, was feeling the pinch of the recession, with the added pressure of Anne Arundel's strict voter-approved property tax cap. In March of 2011, he applied to the state for a waiver from maintenance of effort, arguing that the county should not have to meet the requirement to provide the same per pupil funding as the year before because it had exceeded that standard in the past. A decade before, schools had taken up 42 percent of the county budget, he said, but by then, they were up to 52 percent, squeezing out other essential county functions. The system, he said, needed to be reset.