Some leaders in Prince George's County, Maryland, are proposing asking voters for an increase in property taxes as the county has lost more than $130 million in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Prince George's Council Chair Todd Turner says the county will need options for more revenue moving forward as it continues to lose millions due to COVID-19.
"Our role as public officials is to educate and to lead sometimes and that sometimes leads down to not too comfortable conversations," Turner said.
"We are looking towards the future. I know we are caught right now in the moment and trying to address COVID 19. The economic impacts to the county is part of that, but we are also looking to the future," he said.
If voters approve the proposal, the bill would impact the county's homestead tax credit.
Residents in Prince George's currently pay about 2-5% on top of on their assessed home value. Now, the county council is proposing changing the county's charter to allow the cap to to increase up to 10% — a proposal voters have opposed before.
"I can't think, honestly, of a worse time to consider taking money from families when we have 125,000 newly unemployed Prince Georgians," County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said during a news conference Thursday.
Alsobrooks said she adamantly disagrees with altering the county's tax structure.
"I don't believe we pay for goods and services on the backs of homeowners. We just can't continue to do that," Alsobrooks said.
While there are some council members who are opposed to the measure to raise property taxes, most are in favor of it.
The public can make comment on the issue on July 21 before the council votes on whether or not to add the measure to the November ballot.