Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young said if the city is going to reduce property taxes it will need federal government assistance to make up for the revenue it loses to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.
"If we're serious about lowering our property tax in Baltimore, then we need to be looking at our federal government to give us some kind of relief for having nonprofits, because they do very good work and you don't really want to run them out of town, but we need relief," Young said.
Young made his remarks during a Roland Park Civic League meeting on Thursday night.
He called Baltimore the "nonprofit capital of the world" and said that federal subsidies were the only way the city would be able to seriously address its property tax rate, the state's highest. The city has estimated it loses approximately $120 million from tax-exempt property.
Civic league board members questioned Young about the city's plans to provide tax relief to homeowners.
The city has nothing left to cut from its budget to pay for a property tax reduction, he said.
During the meeting, Young also said single member council districts make having serious conversations about reducing property taxes difficult.
"Everybody is busy going about doing what they're doing in their own little district. When we had multi-member districts all of us worked together. And it's just not there," Young said.
He also discussed Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's preliminary budget.
Young was critical of a proposal in the mayor's preliminary budget to charge residents for bulk trash service.
"Charging residents for bulk items [pick up]—is to me—it's just not the right thing to do," Young said.
However, Young did praise Rawlings-Blake for not raising taxes to help close a projected $65 million deficit.
"I really, really have to give her credit for that. She didn't raise taxes," he said.