One of the items discussed at the County Council meeting was the Merdon tax cut plan for senior residents over 70 years old. I really have no problem with the tax cut per se, but the rhetoric has gotten to the point that red flags should be waving.
With respect to tax cuts the following passage appears in the article:
Others argued that keeping longtime residents at home would help the school system and reduce the bill's cost by delaying younger families with children from buying the homes.Outrage. Pure Outrage. In this county that saw the birth of Columbia and a subsequent welcoming of all no matter economic, racial, social or religious status, people are openly expressing a desire to prohibit (at least temporarily) young people from moving into the county. Heaven forbid that these young people breed and have children. It appears that some find that an even greater offense. Discrimination and ageism are ugly faces, even if they have grandchildren.
Where are my good friends that evoke the name of James Rouse when building heights are discussed? Would James Rouse have an opinion on raising a family in Howard County? Would he find building height a prominent point of discussion but be mute on the subject of ageism?
I bit my cheeks as long as I could when we started changing our environment to better suit seniors over others. I turned my head when people started talking about seniors being a benefit when compared to other citizens because they used less government services. Now that people are openly looking to discriminate against youth, I can’t stand for it any longer.
So pursue your tax cut, take what you can, but remember, it is my generation (and those generations that follow) that will be serving you food at restaurants, running the power plants to keep the lights on, attending to your health needs, and patrolling your streets. Keep in mind that without a place to live (because families with children are delayed from buying homes), the “full freight” tax base in this county may start to diminish, and when that happens we can all look to Pennsylvania.
By U.S. Census data, Pennsylvania is one of the “oldest” states in the country. That is, it has one of the highest median ages. Research (here and here) has shown that one of the causes for this is the demise of the mining and steel industries. When those industries collapsed, almost an entire generation left the area to find work to support families. Some areas of Pennsylvania are actively writing letters to high school graduates from the region, asking them to come back and revitalize their towns.
Depending on the zeal at which this “families last” rhetoric continues, Columbia and Ellicott City will become service class and creative class Allentowns. And the sad thing is that the cause will not be the economic conditions of industries, it will be by choice.
Now at the age of 40, I cannot realistically hang my hat on the mantle of youth any longer. I believe I am here for the long haul. I suppose if this vitriol continues and the citizens embrace the idea that families with children should be held at bay, I can only oppose the idea as long as I have strength.
At that point I will probably become much like the mysterious Once-ler, living in the part of town where the grickle-grass grows.