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MontCo executive proposes indefinite energy tax extension

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Local,News,Maryland,Rachel Baye

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has proposed increasing property taxes and extending a controversial energy tax increase in his fiscal 2013 budget.

The average county resident will see a $4 increase on their property tax bills, despite falling property values, Leggett announced Thursday. The tax rate would increase 4.5 cents to 99.1 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The increase allows the county to continue funding the same portion of its budget from property tax revenue in the coming fiscal year.

The energy tax increase, due to expire in June, would be extended indefinitely under Leggett's proposed budget. Residents are paying an average $251 a year in energy taxes, 150 percent more than two years ago. Businesses pay 60 percent more. For many residents, the tax increase means paying 10 percent of their energy bills toward the tax, said Councilman Phil Andrews, D-Gaithersburg/Rockville.

If approved as Leggett has proposed, the tax is expected to bring in $114 million in fiscal 2013, closing the majority of a $135 million budget hole and allowing the county to fund a $199 million — 4.6 percent — increase in the overall budget.

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