The city Senate delegation is backing a bill that some of its members think could change the way Maryland tax dollars are apportioned, and help poorer jurisdictions such as Baltimore.
The bill technically would appropriate $11.4 million that already was in the budget passed this week for local jurisdictions, including $9.8 million for Baltimore.
The language in the bill would establish a formula that takes into account population and the amount of tax revenue raised by the local jurisdiction. Generally, local aid is distributed on the basis of need, without consideration of the taxing policies of the local communities.
"You don't want to just pour money into communities that don't tax themselves," said Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, D-City.
Hoffman, vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, is to participate in the legislature's summer study of a tax-restructuring bill submitted by Gov. William Donald Schaefer that failed this year.
Hoffman said she hopes the philosophy of the delegation-backed bill will become part of the effort to restructure the state's local aid system. She said the current system denies Baltimore -- with its high tax rate -- necessary funds while allowing other jurisdictions to receive state aid despite having low property tax rates.
The bill, authored by Sen. John A. Pica, D-City, recommends that the legislature use the same formula next year, but does not mandate the money for it. It was passed by the budget committee and is expected to come before the Senate as early as today.