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Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) delivered the State of the County address at the University of Maryland College Park on March 16, presenting a $5.4 billion budget.
“Our budget is focused on residents today and ensures that our county can prosper together tomorrow,” she said as she began her presentation. She announced new initiatives, projections for new revenue, and new allocations in affordable housing, economic development, public health and youth development.
This budget represents a 6.6% increase over the prior year. With new funding mandates implemented by the Kirwan Commission’s Blueprint on Education, $2.79 billion is being invested in education.
“62% of all funding must go to Education and 19.7% must go to public safety and policing, so we have 82% just to public safety and the school system. I’m here to talk today about the remaining 18%,” she said early in the press conference.
While investments into public safety and education have risen, she also notes that new revenues are coming in and that her goal is to prevent services from being cut or taxes from rising on residents.
“We cannot balance the county on the backs of residents and we cannot put the future on a credit card,” she said. While many residents compare Prince George’s to Washington D.C., Alsobrooks noted that D.C. has a significantly higher budget, a smaller population, and has been increasing their commercial base for a longer time than the bordering Maryland county has.
The Blue Line corridor stretches from Largo to Seat Pleasant and redevelopment proposals aim to build a new amphitheater, add tens of thousands of housing units, increase access to healthy food, and preserve housing affordability.
“We have $769 million in private investment by Black developers,” touted Alsobrooks during a recent press conference in Capitol Heights.
Prince George’s has secured private investment along with state and federal support, with the long-term goal of increasing the commercial tax base so the county is less reliant on property tax. In 2021, Prince George’s residents had a 1% real property tax rate and a 2.5% personal tax rate, among the highest in the state.
CJ Hall, a high school sophomore with a passion for art and member of the Alsobrooks Youth Leadership Institute, introduced Alsobrooks at the press conference. He is a member of the Inaugural cohort of the Youth Leadership Institute, a 27-member body of high school students with an interest in government and civics.
“County Executive Alsobrooks, a proud lifelong Prince Georgian, knew from an early age she wanted to give back to her community and give voice to those who might not have one,” he said introducing her. Alsobrooks gave applauded the student, adding she was “Prince George’s proud,” of him.
The first speaker, University of Maryland President Darryl Pines, spoke highly of Alsobrooks and her commitment to the county’s growth.
“County Executive Alsobrooks has been an outstanding partner for University of Maryland, College Park and the entire region,” he said. “The University of Maryland is one of your largest employers. We employ 10,000 people at the university, and over 2,200 live in the County. In 2022, we admitted the largest number of students from Prince George’s County in our history.”
Angeline Perry, President of Temple Hills’ Barnaby Valley Park Homeowners Association, spoke next.
“Alsobrooks’ administration has been working to improve quality of life for those who call our great county home,” she said. “We deserve access to the services and resources we need to thrive. That is why this budget is so important to not only me, but all of us. We need quality schools and affordable housing, to reduce violent crime, quality behavioral health services, to be environmentally friendly and reduce the impact of climate change and flooding. We need all these things and so much more. This budget invests in that.”
You can review the 2024 budget in detail here. Interested residents can also watch the presentation via YouTube.