Update: On July 28, 2015, the Council approved an FY16 Budget Savings Plan with significant differences from what was proposed by the County Executive. Click here to learn more.
When County Executive Isiah Leggett released his recommended Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) Operating Budget in March, he suggested that next year’s budget would be difficult. He said, “it’s almost unavoidable down the line that we’ll have a tax increase.” The FY16 Budget that he proposed was essentially a “same services budget,” with one of the few changes being salary increases for County employees.
In May, the Council approved a responsible and responsive budget that reflects Montgomery County’s progressive values. Throughout the budget process, we heard from our constituents about your priorities, and the budget we passed included many of those items:
- The Council funded recently-passed legislation to support child care and health insurance assistance for low-income workers.
- We included housing support for homeless veterans.
- We provided additional money for workers who serve the developmentally disabled.
On July 8, County Executive Leggett transmitted an FY16 Savings Plan to the Council that would eliminate these priorities. After the negative U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Wynne case and lower than expected income tax revenue distribution, budget reductions are certainly necessary; however, that doesn’t mean we should be cutting — and in some cases, gutting — programs that serve our most vulnerable residents.
Budgets are moral documents — and so are budget savings plans.
Council committees began reviewing the County Executive’s proposed savings plan on Monday and will continue to make recommendations through next week. On July 28, the full Council is scheduled to discuss and vote on the committee recommendations.
The Council has set up a special website to solicit your feedback on the proposed budget savings plan. You can share your views using the Council Budget Savings Plan Web Portal, or you can e-mail County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov to send a message to the entire Council. To keep up-to-date with the latest news about the budget savings plan and other issues, be sure to follow me on Twitter and “like” my Facebook page.
As we move through this challenging budget process, I will continue fighting for our shared values and priorities.