Ballot question campaign committees raise more than $437K

Ballot question campaign committees raise more than $437K

Four ballot questions could change county’s tax policy, council structure

| Published:

Pictured is a mail-in ballot drop off box used during the primary election.

File photo

Six ballot questions campaign committees in Montgomery County have raised more than $437,700 in contributions to support or oppose four questions on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Those four questions include two proposing changes to the county’s tax policy and two recommending changes to the council’s structure.

Nine Districts for MoCo, a local group of residents supporting a change in the council struction for nine districts, has taken in the most contributions of any group, with nearly $118,000.

Residents for More Representation, a committee supporting add two County Council district seats, raised the next highest amount, with about $101,000.

The group was closely followed by Montgomery Countians for Question A & Against Question B, which has raised about $100,000.

The contribution totals exclude PAC transfers and in-kind contributions.

Two county ballot questions — A and B — are related to taxation. The other two ballot questions — C and D — are related to the structure of the County Council.

Question A, proposed by the County Council, suggests removing a cap that limits how much the county’s property tax revenue can increase in a single year. The proposal would require all nine council members to vote in favor to approve an increase in the tax rate.

Currently, the council is only allowed to increase its revenue by a percentage equal to the Consumer Price Index in the Washington region for a 12-month period ending on Nov. 30 of the preceding year.

Question B, placed on the ballot through a petition drive by county resident Robin Ficker, calls for limiting tax increases. It would prohibit the council from increasing property tax revenue greater than a percentage equal to the CPI in the Washington region for a 12-month period ending on Nov. 30 of the preceding year.

Ficker’s proposal would eliminate the possibility of a greater increase, even by a unanimous vote, under any circumstances.

The other two ballot questions would change the council’s current structure of nine council members — five elected by districts and four elected at-large, representing the entire county.

Questions C, proposed by the council and spearheaded by Council Member Evan Glass, calls for expanding the council from nine seats to 11 seats.

Seven members would be elected by district. The other four seats would remain at large.

Question D, placed on the ballot by petition by Nine Districts for MoCo, proposes to change the four at-large seats into seats elected by district. The council would stay at nine seats, with all nine elected by districts.

Nine Districts for MoCo was formed by a local group of residents.

Early voting ends at 8 p.m. on Monday at 11 sites. As of Sunday night, more than 122,200 people had voted early in Montgomery County.

In-person voting on Election Day on Tuesday will be available at 39 voting centers.

Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at one of 50 collection sites.

The most recent financial reports for the campaigns that are provided to the Maryland State Board of Elections includes reports up to Oct. 18.

Here are the contributions and expenses of the six committees (in-kind contributions and PAC transfers are not included in the totals for contributions in each period):

Nine Districts for MoCo — established July 24, 2019, and chaired by Kimblyn Persaud (supports Question D)

From July 24, 2019, to Oct. 18, 2020, the group received $117,803 in contributions and spent $101,640.93.
The highest contributors to the group include:
● Charles Nulsen of Washington Property Company in Bethesda: $50,000
● Gingery Development Group of Rockville: $40,000
● Wilco in Potomac: $15,000 (in-kind contribution)
● UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO: $10,000 (in-kind contribution)
● Robert Buchanan of Buchanan Partners in Potomac: $5,000
● Fraternal Order of Police: $5,000 (in-kind contribution)
● Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association PAC: $5,000 (in-kind contribution)
● Arlene Hillerson of Potomac: $2,000
● Margaret Pratt of Potomac: $2,000

Residents for More Representation – established Sept. 17, 2020, and chaired by Marilyn Balcombe (supports Question C)

From Sept. 17 to Oct. 18, the group received $101,120.17 in contributions and spent $99,811.74.
The highest contributors to the group include:
● Council for Advocacy & POL Solutions Inc. in Rockville: $50,000
● Wilco Construction Company in Potomac: $25,000
● Washington Property Company in Bethesda: $23,500
● Casa in Action in Hyattsville: $2,500
● CERG 2.0 PAC: $2,500

Montgomery Countians for Question A & Against Question B – established Sept. 14, 2020, and chaired by David Blair (supports Question A)

Between Sept. 14 and Oct. 18, the committee collected $100,250 in contributions and had $50,053.04 in expenses.
The highest contributors to the group include:
● Charles Nulsen of Washington Property Company in Bethesda: $50,000
● Council for Advocacy and Policy Solutions in Rockville: $50,000

Vote No on B & D – established Sept. 11, 2020, and chaired by Ike Leggett (opposes Questions B and D)

From Sept. 11 to Oct. 18, the committee collected $85,525 and had $76,529 in expenses.
The highest contributors to the group include:
● Good Sense Policy Institute Inc. in Rockville: $50,000
● CAPS in Rockville: $15,000
● CERG 2.0 in Sandy Spring: $5,000
● Leggett, Isaiah Ike Friends Of: $2,500 (transfer from MD candidate campaign finance entity)

Montgomery Neighbors Against Question B – established Sept. 14, 2020 and chaired by William Jameel Roberts (opposes Question B)

From Sept. 14 to Oct. 18, the group received $33,025 in contributions and spent $30,000.
The highest contributors to the group include:
● Montgomery County Education Association in Rockville: $20,000
● MCGEO UFCW Local 1994 Political Action Committee: $20,000 (transfer from MD PAC)
● UFCW Local 400 ABC PAC in Landover: $10,000
● Empower PAC: $5,000 (transfer from non-federal, out-of-state PAC)
● CASA in Action: $2,500
● Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees Laborers PAC: $2,000 (transfer from non-federal, out-of-state PAC)

We Support Nine Districts – established May 7, 2020, and chaired by Robinson Sean Rowe (supports Question D)

● The group filed an affidavit that it did not intend to receive contributions or make expenses in the cumulative amount of $1,000 or more since the establishment of the campaign finance entity approval date

The group had one $485 violation for a failure to file its financial report due on Aug. 25. The report was filed on Sept. 10.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.

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