Residents frustrated with proposed property tax increase

MITCHELLVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- Frustration over Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker's proposed 15% property tax increase is what took over a People for Change Coalition community meeting held at Largo Community Church in Mitchellville on Saturday.

Some in attendance, including Seat Pleasant's Mayor, blasted Baker's tax hike.

A lot of the people who spoke described being in the same boat as 76-year-old Eddie Mackey.

"I'm under water with my property. In 2006, I was appraised at $500,000. In 2015, I'm at, I guess about $250. It doesn't make sense," Mackey said.

The tax increase would go towards public education, among other things. Baker spoke on the subject a few weeks ago.

"We're making progress but we're making progress too slow," he told WUSA9 Reporter Mola Lenghi. "The only way we're going to make a giant leap to catch up with the surrounding jurisdictions, is to put the type of resources into our education that our competitors around the region have."

Enhancing education is what many people say will help increase property value and the proposed budget is also expected to raise teacher salaries. As a teacher, Nina Johnson said she likes that idea but as a homeowner, she may not be completely sold.

"I think the 15% increase is too much. I think smaller increase or maybe spread it over time," Johnson said. "I do feel that there is money needed for our schools. My issue with it is that they are not asking us where we think the money needs to go."

"Why can't we take this 15% tax increase from the state lotteries?" asked Mackey at the meeting.

If this property tax increase is passed in Prince George's County, this will be the county's first property tax increase in over 30 years.

Scott L. Peterson from the Office of Prince George's County Executive released the following statement Saturday in response to the meeting:

"The County Executive put forth a budget proposal to the residents of Prince George's County that invests in our top priority as a County - improving our public school system. The County Executive is confident that this investment will provide dividends in our classrooms but will also lead Prince George's County to future economic growth, increased property values, financial stability, and sustainable wealth."

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