They want to reduce the rate to 0%.
Citizens will get the chance to comment in the near future on a proposal to reduce Frederick County's Admission and Amusement Tax. The Commissioners on Thursday agreed to take to a public hearing a measure to reduce the rate from 5% to 0%. No date has been set.
"The majority of this board ran on a platform of reducing the burden and role of government," says Commissioners' President Blaine Young, in a statement. "We want to provide our citizens with financial relief in every way we can find, no matter how small."
The idea came from Commissioner Kirby Delauter. "The only reason we found out we can impose those taxes is because we could," he says in a statement. "They have been incremental taxes over a long period and most people don't even know they're paying them. That is how government gets bloated. Revenue flows in and we figure out how to spend it."
But this proposal would not totally eliminate the tax itself. "We're moving the rate to zero so the right to levy the tax is still there," says Commissioners' Vice President Paul Smith. "If we have a need, we could reinstate it." Smith hopes the county doesn't have to bring it back.
It's estimated that Frederick County could lose $774,000 in revenue in fiscal year 2014 if the Admissions and Amusement Tax is reduced to 0%. But Commissioner Smith says the county will get by next fiscal year without that money.
"We create taxes for this and that, and everything else. The point of view of many of us is 'this has got to stop,'" Smith says. "We can't just continue to create a new tax everytime we want to meet some other need. And at the same time, you're expanding the role of government and increasing taxes."
The Admissions and Amusement Tax is imposed on such activities as movies, coin-operated amusements, amusement rides, golf and green fees, golf cart rentals, miniature golf, driving ranges, billiards and non coin-operated amusements. The revenues are collected by the state on behalf of the counties and municipalities.
This tax is believed to have been first enacted in the 1930's.