2008 Election: Telecommunications Tax Increase Proposal (Question F) on Ballot in Prince George’s County, MD

On the 2008 ballot in Prince George’s County, MD is a proposal to increase the county telecommunications tax. The language of the proposal is

Question F

(CB-12-2007)

Charter Required Referendum

Telecommunications and Service Sales and Use Tax

An Act to increase the sales and use tax on gross receipts from telecommunications service within Prince George’s County from 8 percent to 11 percent to increase funding available to the Prince George’s County Board of Education.

  • For the Charter Referendum
  • Against the Charter Referendum.

The stated purpose of the tax increase is to provide $17 million dollars annually to the Prince George’s County Public School system.

This would be laudable if it were effective. The reality is that this money will not help the school system very much. The Prince George’s Public School’s budget is $1.65 billion dollars. Question F would contribute a 1% increase to the school budget ($17million/$1.65 billion=0.0103). This is a minuscule amount that I doubt will help the school system very much.

Consider: If the proposal passes, all the County Council would have to do is allow the $17 million from the ballot question go to the school system, but stop itself from distributing $17 million from the county’s general revenues to the school system. The result–the schools do not really receive a benefit.

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2 thoughts on “2008 Election: Telecommunications Tax Increase Proposal (Question F) on Ballot in Prince George’s County, MD

  1. I am tempted to think that many of the ballot questions are worded in such a way to trick the voters into essentially rubber-stamping the obscure intent of the state govmt. If the tax is raised to fund education through the front door, but a mirror amount is removed from education’s back door, then is this really about education? What will get funded with the “extra” money? Almost any expenditure could be obscured in this way. How is the average maryland voter supposed to figure this stuff out really? ARGH.

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  2. Ferretchen,

    Thank you for your comment. For the placement of the tax increase question, i had the same thought. I normally support all the bond requests, and, thus, would vote yes out of habit. Thankfully, I read the sample ballot in advance.

    Politicians in Prince George’s said that the placement of Question F was not intended to get yes votes by being placed after the bond issues (well, the voter is responsible for reading the ballot, but the Council could have informed the voters before the distribution of the sample ballots).

    The funds the question provide could be provided to the school system, but very likely, the Council would use the tax increase to substitute for a transfer of funds from the general revenues of the County.

    It is a lot of information for an average voter. Most do not keep track of County Council activities.

    Today should prove to be an exciting election day.

    To all eligible voters: Please vote.

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