Monday, January 31, 2005

Faustian Bargains

So let's say, for a moment, that you've been elected County Executive of Anne Arundel County. The monies for school construction and repair have run short, and you desperately need to find some place from which to procure the funds. Do you go to the State with your hat in your hand and beg for a multi-million dollar loan from the state? Or, do you work to close a tax loophole for commercial property owners that costs the County millions of dollars a year?

Problem is, several of the most prolific commercial developers and business bigwigs in the County represent the base of your campaign contribution gravy-train. Better to put the County on the hook to the State for years to come (you're gone in less than 2 years anyway) than bite the hand that feeds you, right?

The Sunday Capital revealed to us Janet Owen's answer. Ms. Owens has decided that, rather than upset her base and require businesses to pay transfer taxes when property changes hands (like residents do), she wants to ask the State for the money to fund school construction. Thankfully, Mike Busch (D-Annapolis), and several others in the State House have introduced a bill to shut the loopholes themselves, a move that, it is estimated, will generate $13 million/year for the State, and $45 million/year for the counties. Several other states, including the notoriously business friendly, Delaware have already passed laws to close similar loopholes.

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