Thursday, March 29, 2012

Property-tax Reduction Plan on the Move

The Daily Record reported that a city council committee approved the Mayor's plan to incrementally reduce city property taxes by $0.20 per $100 of assessed value over the next eight years. This will drop the rate from the current $2.268 to $2.068 by 2020. The reduction is a part of the Mayor's initiative to get 10,000 more families to move into Baltimore over the next decade. To offset the projected loss of revenue, the new casino in the city (which has yet to be built) will contribute most of its revenue to offset this.The plan still needs to be approved by the entire city council

The idea behind lowering the property taxes is to make living in the city more competitive with living in the surrounding counties which currently have a rate more than half that of the city. Even with the reduction to $2.068 in eight years, this would still by nearly twice that of Baltimore County (currently $1.1) Howard County ($1.014) and Anne Arundel ($0.91) See State Dept of Assessment and Taxation

Will this rather small reduction really make a difference? If you're a current property owner, definitely. Any reduction of the property tax rate will be welcomed. However, is this enough to stem the loss of population to the counties, or justify a potential buyer to purchase in the city over the counties. I, for one, am not fully sold.

Sure it makes the city slightly more competitive, but we need to think serious here for a second. I would argue for the rate to drop below the $2-mark, to make it more attractive. There are booming neighborhoods across this city that need that jump start to get more residents. More residents are going to impact the retail market, businesses, and most importantly schools (which every resident will like).

The Mayor needs to stop making the "politically easy" decision here, and take a more comprehensive approach to making it more affordable and attractive to live in Baltimore City. We have a lot to offer, and a whole lot that could use improvement and development.

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