Montgomery County Residents Again Demand End to Country Club Giveaways

Cesar Garzon

January 8, 2020

Montgomery County DSA Says: “Money for Jobs and Education, Not the Wealthy’s Recreation”

(CHEVY CHASE, MD) — Montgomery County residents gathered at Columbia Country Club today to demand that state delegates put an end to tax subsidies given to private country clubs. This is the first of a series of planned protests.

The protesters held banners and signs that said “End Tax Breaks for Country Clubs.”

The State of Maryland provides property tax subsidies to country clubs by assessing their property at a rate far below market value when determining clubs’ tax liability. Columbia Country Club, for example, pays less than 25% of what its property tax bill would be if it was taxed at the same rate as homeowners.

Last year, revenue shortfalls forced the County to propose painful budgetary cuts, including $25 million from Montgomery County Public Schools and $3.9 million from Health and Human Services. Now, the County is predicting a $100 million shortfall next year. Meanwhile, the tax giveaways enjoyed by elite country clubs amount to $10 million annually — even as these clubs charge initiation fees of $80,000 to $100,000.

Montgomery County DSA Chair Elissa Laitin remarked, “Today is the first day of the Maryland legislative session. We are sending a message that it remains unconscionable for the working class to pay more in order to continue subsidizing the recreation of the ruling class. A few years ago, the County raised property tax rates on homeowners by almost nine percent, and we’re told we have to live with budget cuts to essential services. Meanwhile, these clubs for the 1% continue to pay lower taxes than the rest of us. This needs to end.”

Said MoCo DSA Steering Committee member Zach Wiita, “We once again call upon the Maryland General Assembly to pass a bill ending these giveaways to the playgrounds of the wealthy, and put working Marylanders first.”