Board of Sup'rs of Elections of Anne Arundel County v. Smallwood, Nos. 71

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtArgued before MURPHY; ELDRIDGE; MURPHY; CHASANOW
Citation327 Md. 220,608 A.2d 1222
PartiesBOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS OF ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY et al. v. Rayburn H. SMALLWOOD et al. BALTIMORE COUNTY CITIZENS FOR REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, et al. v. BALTIMORE COUNTY, Maryland, et al. & 72,
Docket NumberNos. 71
Decision Date01 September 1990

Page 220

327 Md. 220
608 A.2d 1222
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS OF ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY et al.
v.
Rayburn H. SMALLWOOD et al.
BALTIMORE COUNTY CITIZENS FOR REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, et al.
v.
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Maryland, et al.
Nos. 71 & 72, Sept. Term, 1990.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Sept. 20, 1990 (Order).
July 17, 1992 (Opinion).

[608 A.2d 1223]

Page 223

John R. Greiber, Jr. (Messinger & Greiber, both on brief), Annapolis, for petitioners Board of Supervisors. Richard W. Drury (Thomas G. Bodie, Thomas J. Dolina, Power & Mosner, P.A., all on brief), Towson, for petitioners Baltimore County Citizens.

Diana G. Motz, and Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman, Baltimore, amicus curiae, for Talbot County Taxpayers' Ass'n and the Tax Reform Initiative by Marylanders.

Roger D. Redden (Kurt J. Fischer, both on brief), Baltimore, David A. Plymyer, Deputy County Atty. (Stephen R. Beard, County Atty., both on brief), Annapolis, for respondents Smallwood, Roger D. Redden (Kurt J. Fischer, both on brief), Baltimore, Arnold Jablon, County Attorney (Stanley J. Schapiro, Deputy County Attorney, Michael J. McMahon, Assistant County Attorney, all on brief), Towson, for respondents Baltimore County.

Argued before MURPHY, C.J., ELDRIDGE, COLE, * RODOWSKY, McAULIFFE and CHASANOW, JJ., and CHARLES E. ORTH, Jr., Judge of the Court of Appeals (retired), Specially Assigned.

608 A.2d 1224]

Page 224

ORDER

The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, by order of August 30, 1990, declared that the two proposed amendments to the Charter of Anne Arundel County known as the Ballot Initiative amendment and the Property Tax Limitation amendment violated "public general law and are unconstitutional and void under Article XI-A of the Constitution of Maryland." The circuit court's August 30, 1990, order also enjoined the Defendant Board of Supervisors of Elections of Anne Arundel County from placing the two proposed amendments on the ballot to be presented to the voters of Anne Arundel County at the general election to be held on November 6, 1990.

For reasons to be stated in an opinion later to be filed, it is this 20th day of September, 1990,

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, that the part of the judgment of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County relating to the Ballot Initiative amendment is affirmed; and it is further

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring, that the part of the judgment of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County relating to the Property Tax Limitation amendment is reversed; and it is further

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring, that the case be remanded to the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County with directions to declare that certain provisions of the Property Tax Limitation amendment, namely the so-called "rollback" to the 1988-1989 tax year and subparagraph [b], are invalid and severable, and to declare that the Property Tax Limitation amendment is otherwise, facially, not in conflict either with public general law or with Article XI-A of the Constitution of Maryland; and it is further

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring, that the circuit court order that the Defendant Board of Supervisors of Elections

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of Anne Arundel County submit to the voters of Anne Arundel County at the general election to be held on November 6, 1990, in accordance with the provisions of Article XI-A of the Constitution of Maryland and Maryland Code (1957, 1986 Repl.Vol.), Article 33, the Property Tax Limitation amendment in the following form:

"PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY CHARTER PROPERTY

TAX LIMITATION

"Article VII. Budgetary and Fiscal Procedures

"Sec. 710. Reproduction of budget: effective date; tax levy; appropriations [after existing text, add the following new numbered paragraph (d)

"[d] Property Tax

(1) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, commencing on 1 July 1991 (tax year 1991-92), the County Council may not establish property tax rates which would provide more property tax revenues than were raised during the 1990-91 tax year, except as provided in subparagraph [a] below:

[a] The Constant Yield Tax Rate, as currently specified by the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, shall continue as the method of assurance that revenue derived from the property tax remains at a constant level from one year to the next. The provisions of the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland which permit local taxing authorities to increase property tax rates above the Constant Yield Tax Rate shall be used by the Anne Arundel County Council in the following manner: Commencing 1 July 1991, and applicable to subsequent tax years, the Council may set an annual tax rate which exceeds the Constant Yield Tax Rate by a value which will permit property tax revenues to increase by (1) a percentage corresponding to the immediately previous January Consumer Price Index, U.S. City Average, percentage of change from the preceding January, as computed by the Department of Labor (or

Page 226

other widely accepted index that measures from time to time the rate of inflation), or (2) by 4.5 percent, whichever is the lesser amount."

[608 A.2d 1225] Costs to be paid by Anne Arundel County. Appellants' request for attorneys' fees denied. Mandate to issue forthwith.

ORDER

The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, by order of September 4, 1990, determined that the proposed amendment to the Charter of Baltimore County establishing a limit on property taxes violated Article XI-A of the Constitution of Maryland and certain provisions of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The circuit court ruled that the proposed property tax limitation amendment "cannot remain on the ballot for referendum vote at the general election on November 6, 1990." The circuit court's order also enjoined the defendants, Board of Supervisors of Elections of Baltimore County and State Board of Election Laws, from keeping, after October 5, 1990, the proposed amendment on the ballot to be presented to the voters of Baltimore County at the general election to be held on November 6, 1990.

For reasons to be stated in an opinion later to be filed, the Court of Appeals, a majority of the Court concurring, has determined that certain provisions of the property tax limitation amendment, namely the so-called "rollback" and subparagraph (d)(2), are invalid and severable, and that the property tax limitation amendment is otherwise, facially, not in conflict either with public general law or with Article XI-A of the Constitution of Maryland.

It is this 20th day of September, 1990,

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring, that the injunctive order of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County is reversed; and it is further

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring, that the case be remanded

Page 227

to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County with directions to order that the defendants, Board of Supervisors of Elections of Baltimore County and State Board of Election Laws, submit to the voters of Baltimore County at the general election to be held on November 6, 1990, in accordance with the provisions of Article XI-A of the Constitution of Maryland and Maryland Code (1957, 1986 Repl.Vol.), Article 33, the proposed amendment in the following form:

"BALTIMORE COUNTY--PEOPLE'S PETITION TO LIMIT PROPERTY TAXES

"Purpose of Amendment To limit the property tax so that property tax revenues will not exceed those revenues realized by the County for the 1990-1991 tax year, except as provided in subparagraph (1) of the Amendment.

"Proposed Amendment In accordance with Article XI-A of the Maryland Constitution, Article VII, entitled Budgetary and Fiscal Procedure of the Charter of Baltimore County is hereby amended as follows:

"After Section 710(c), add the following:

"(d) Property Tax. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, commencing on July 1, 1991, and for the tax year 1991-1992, the County property tax may not exceed the property tax realized by the County for the tax year 1990-1991 except as provided in subparagraph (1) herein:

"(1) For the tax year 1991-1992, and for succeeding years the County property tax may be increased, but by no more than 2 percent per year.

"(2) The limitation provided for in subparagraph (d) above shall not apply to property taxes or special assessments to pay the interest and redemption charges on any indebtedness approved by the voters prior to the time this section becomes effective.

"(3) If any paragraph, part, clause or phrase hereof is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the

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remaining portions of the law shall not be affected but will remain in full force and effect."

Costs to be paid by Baltimore County. Mandate to issue forthwith.

[608 A.2d 1226] OPINION

ELDRIDGE, Judge.

These cases involve the validity of charter amendments proposed, pursuant to the Maryland Constitution, Art. XI-A, § 5, 1 by petitions of the voters of Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties respectively. This opinion sets forth the reasons underlying the Court's order requiring each county's Board of Election Supervisors to place proposed "Property Tax Limitation" charter amendments on the ballots for the 1990 general election. Also addressed is this Court's order prohibiting the Anne Arundel County Board of Supervisors of Elections from placing a "Ballot Initiative Amendment" on the ballot.

I.

As this opinion encompasses two distinct appeals, the facts and procedural history of each case will be addressed separately.

A.

On July 5, 1990, the Baltimore County Citizens for Representative Government (BCCRG) submitted a petition to place a Property Tax Limitation charter amendment on the

Page 229

1990 general election ballot. 2 The Board of Election...

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35 practice notes
  • State Ctr., LLC v. Lexington Charles Ltd. P'ship, No. 12
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 27, 2014
    ...we shall not ordinarily inquire as to whether another party on the same side also has standing.'" Bd. of Sup'rs of Elections v. Smallwood, 327 Md. 220, 233 n.7, 608 A.2d 1222, 1228 n.7 (1992) (quoting Bd. of License Comm'rs v. Haberlin, 320 Md. 399, 404, 578 A.2d 215, 217 (1990)) (citations......
  • Ashton v. Brown, No. 102
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1992
    ...S.Ct. 1650, 56 L.Ed.2d 86 (1978); State v. Schuller, 280 Md. 305, 319, 372 A.2d 1076, 1083 (1977)." Page 95 See also Board v. Smallwood, 327 Md. 220, 245-246, 608 A.2d 1222, 1234-1235 (1992); Sugarloaf Citizens Assoc. v. Gudis, 319 Md. 558, 573-574, 573 A.2d 1325, 1333 (1990); Anne Arundel ......
  • Atkinson v. Anne Arundel Cnty., No. 788, Sept. Term, 2016
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 28, 2018
    ...of local property 236 Md.App. 177tax revenues to be raised each year."19 Bd. of Sup'rs of Elections of Anne Arundel Cty. v. Smallwood , 327 Md. 220, 236, 608 A.2d 1222 (1992). In holding that the amendments were "proper charter material," the Court distinguished Cheeks and Griffith , reason......
  • Montrose Christian v. Walsh, No. 144
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 12, 2001
    ...portion of an enactment is found to be invalid, the intent [of the legislative body] is that such portion be severed." Board v. Smallwood, 327 Md. 220, 245, 608 A.2d 1222, 1234 (1992). See, e.g., Sugarloaf Citizens Assoc. v. Gudis, 319 Md. 558, 574, 573 A.2d 1325, 1333 (1990); Porten Sulliv......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • State Ctr., LLC v. Lexington Charles Ltd. P'ship, No. 12
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 27, 2014
    ...we shall not ordinarily inquire as to whether another party on the same side also has standing.'" Bd. of Sup'rs of Elections v. Smallwood, 327 Md. 220, 233 n.7, 608 A.2d 1222, 1228 n.7 (1992) (quoting Bd. of License Comm'rs v. Haberlin, 320 Md. 399, 404, 578 A.2d 215, 217 (1990)) (citations......
  • Ashton v. Brown, No. 102
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1992
    ...S.Ct. 1650, 56 L.Ed.2d 86 (1978); State v. Schuller, 280 Md. 305, 319, 372 A.2d 1076, 1083 (1977)." Page 95 See also Board v. Smallwood, 327 Md. 220, 245-246, 608 A.2d 1222, 1234-1235 (1992); Sugarloaf Citizens Assoc. v. Gudis, 319 Md. 558, 573-574, 573 A.2d 1325, 1333 (1990); Anne Arundel ......
  • Atkinson v. Anne Arundel Cnty., No. 788, Sept. Term, 2016
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 28, 2018
    ...of local property 236 Md.App. 177tax revenues to be raised each year."19 Bd. of Sup'rs of Elections of Anne Arundel Cty. v. Smallwood , 327 Md. 220, 236, 608 A.2d 1222 (1992). In holding that the amendments were "proper charter material," the Court distinguished Cheeks and Griffith , reason......
  • Montrose Christian v. Walsh, No. 144
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 12, 2001
    ...portion of an enactment is found to be invalid, the intent [of the legislative body] is that such portion be severed." Board v. Smallwood, 327 Md. 220, 245, 608 A.2d 1222, 1234 (1992). See, e.g., Sugarloaf Citizens Assoc. v. Gudis, 319 Md. 558, 574, 573 A.2d 1325, 1333 (1990); Porten Sulliv......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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