City Council committee approves Rawlings-Blake's property tax cut plan

Plan banks on projected revenue from future slots location

March 29, 2012|By Luke Broadwater

A City Council committee on Wednesday approved Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's property tax reduction plan, which relies on projected revenue from gambling.

Banking on income from a future slots location, the plan would reduce Baltimore's property tax rate by 20 cents by 2020 for Baltimore homeowners. According to the mayor's office, the plan would give an owner-occupied home, valued at $200,000, an annual tax reduction of $40 next year. That reduction would grow to $400 by 2020.

Caesars Entertainment, the leading bidder for a slots parlor in Baltimore, earlier this month gave lawmakers explicit assurances that their company will not abandon the city for Prince George's County if the General Assembly approves a casino there. While Caesars has not yet been awarded the license for the downtown Baltimore location, it is the only viable applicant now in the running.

Under the mayor's legislation, 90 percent of the revenue from the slots casino would go to reducing property taxes and 10 percent would fund part of a school construction initiative. Rawlings-Blake first announced her property tax plan during last summer's mayoral race, as several of her challengers proposed alternative tax-cut plans.

"I'd like to thank my Council colleagues for moving this legislation forward," the mayor said in a statement Wednesday.

The plan must now pass the full 14-member City Council. The city's property tax rate is more than double that of the surrounding counties. 

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