North Baltimore Lawmakers Fail to Delay Tax Cut
The Baltimore City Council approved a tax cut proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration.
Three City Council members that represent North Baltimore tried to send a bill creating a tax credit reducing property taxes for homeowners back to committee on Monday but failed.
The City Council voted against the motion to send the bill back to committee and then voted to give it final approval. The bill was submitted by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration and would cut property taxes by 20 cents in eight years. The rent from a slots parlor in the city, which is scheduled to open by 2014, is expected to help offset the cost of the tax break.
The property tax reduction, which will be phased in during the next several years, would eventually result in a $400 tax cut on a home valued at $200,000.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, Councilman Carl Stokes and Councilman Bill Henry all voted to send the bill back to committee. After the bill was put up for final approval Stokes and Clarke voted against it and Henry abstained.
Clarke argued the bill should be sent back to committee until the city can find a way to double spending on after school programs and avoid closing three firehouses as proposed in Rawlings-Blake’s budget. The tax cut is anticipated to cost the city $3.8 million in fiscal year 2013.
Clarke said she understands that tax relief is needed in the city but that it would cost about $4.6 million to double spending on after school programming and that $3.8 million could operate two fire companies.
"It’s about timing," Clarke said.
The bill is part of a plan to reduce property taxes Rawlings-Blake introduced during her campaign for mayor last summer.
Baltimore City has the highest tax rate in Maryland at $2.268 for every $100 of a property’s assessed value, more than double that of neighboring Baltimore County.