Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews says he thinks they can avoid a tax hike in next year’s budget, and if not, they will certainly try. “Every year I’ve been afraid since 2001 that we would have to raise taxes. We did raise them twice by a half a mill, and then backed them down by half a mill, so we’re back where we were in 2001. Can we keep there? I didn’t think we could last year, but we did. We had a lot of angry people because people lost their jobs, but I think we can keep it at last year’s level.”
He says it’s less than that if you take inflation into account.
“You know there’s inflation every year. The dollar is worth less. If they’re paying the same as they paid in 2001, and there’s been inflation every year but one, they’re paying less in real dollars as a percentage of their income than they paid in 2001.”
Matthews says county taxes in real dollars have gone down, while school district and local government taxes have gone up. He says the county share of the total property tax bill was a little over ten percent in 2001, and now it’s only about eight percent. He says they can cut the cost of county government again, but probably not without cutting services and jobs.