City Council Committee Approves Mayor’s Property Tax Plan Legislation

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Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
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New tax credit program will provide 20 cent property tax cut by 2020 for homeowners without slashing funding for crime reduction and public education.

Today, a City Council Committee approved Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s legislation to reduce Baltimore’s effective property tax rate by 20 cents by 2020 for Baltimore City homeowners. The plan will target future property tax reductions to homeowners through a newly-created homeowner’s tax credit program funded with revenue generated from the City’s future slots location and by responsibly reducing City spending over several years. Under the proposal, an owner-occupied home in Baltimore assessed at $200,000 would see an annual tax reduction of $40 in 2013, growing to $400 by 2020.

“When you ask families what they need in order to stay in Baltimore, it is safe neighborhoods, good schools, job opportunities, and lower property taxes,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “At the same time we are making progress reducing crime and improving our schools, we have to do everything reasonable to reduce the property tax burden on homeowners. And we need to pay for it without slashing the budget for basic City services. I'd like to thank my Council colleagues for moving this legislation forward.”

Under the Targeted Homeowners Tax Credit (THTC) legislation, all Baltimore City homeowners who currently qualify for the Maryland Homestead Property Tax Credit will qualify for the new credit. Mayor Rawlings-Blake emphasized that fiscal responsibility is a key component of her property tax relief plan for homeowners, and noted that other proposals to drastically cut property tax rates would cripple services, including crime reduction programs and public school funding. By gradually reducing the City’s property tax rate and partially relying on new revenue from slots, the City will still have to make difficult budget choices, but will be able to adjust its spending plans and services in a responsible way.

“Under this bill, vacant homes do not qualify for a tax cut; vacant lots don’t qualify; and speculators and owners of blighted properties won’t get a penny of tax relief at the expense everyone else. This tax cut is for city homeowners first,” added Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “We must pass this tax cut right away, so that homeowners know the City is moving in the right direction, lowering their tax bills. Let’s do this now and help get Baltimore growing again.”

What people are saying about the Mayor’s Property Tax Plan:

  • Rawlings-Blake’s “...proposal would amount to the largest drop in the property tax rate for homeowners in decades…” (The Baltimore Sun, July 19, 2011)
  • “Richard P. Clinch, director of economic research at University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute, praised Rawlings-Blake’s plan because it appeared feasible. ‘A realistic proposal is better than an unrealistic proposal that can't be funded,’ he said. ‘I think every bit helps in getting people to move into the city.’” (The Baltimore Sun, July 19, 2011)
  • “The mayor’s plan to reduce Baltimore’s property tax rate 20 cents by 2020 represents sound and prudent policy that will offer families economic relief without having to sacrifice funding for core City services. As someone who has long been committed to reducing Baltimore’s property tax rate, I am excited about the mayor’s plan and its ability to meet her goal of growing the city by 10,000 families over the next 10 years.” – Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young (City Press Release, March 19, 2012)
  • Economist Anirban Basu said Rawlings-Blake’s promised cuts could lure new residents to the city. The Mayor’s approach ‘…would put the city on the right trajectory and is fiscally responsible…’” (The Baltimore Sun, July 19, 2011
  •  “...Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s proposal to cut 20 cents off of Baltimore’s property tax rate for owner-occupied homes by 2020 is a good idea for what to do with the city’s projected revenue from slot machine gambling...Though the politics of a campaign have caused the challengers to pooh-pooh the plan, they should really be incorporating it into their platforms. Ms. Rawlings-Blake has come up with a good idea that should be enacted.” (The Baltimore Sun Editorial, July 20, 2011)
Details on the Mayor’s Property Tax Reduction Plan:

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