Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Should hospitals and universities build Baltimore City schools? The chairman of the City Tax and Finance Committee wants to impose a $500 bed tax on colleges and hospitals that don’t pay property taxes.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports the plan is to funnel that money into school construction.
While Johns Hopkins University students begin their school years with the ritual move into freshly appointed dorms, Baltimore City school students return to outmoded buildings in constant need of repair.
Councilman Carl Stokes wants to charge colleges and hospitals $500 for each of their beds and use that money for city schools.
“The hospitals and universities are currently paying a special tax or fee to the city of Baltimore,” said Stokes, “but that will run out in about two more years.”
In 2010, the city entered a six-year agreement that schools and hospitals not subject to property taxes would make direct payments to the city totaling $20.4 million.
“We’re suggesting that rather than stop that, the monies continue to come from our universities and hospitals to support school construction for new schools for our children in Baltimore City,” Stokes said.
A Johns Hopkins University spokesman says the six-year deal should stand.
“Two years ago, we had good discussions with the mayor and good discussions with the City Council and we hammered out this agreement to which all sides agreed and we expect going forward, it would continue to be a collaborative process,” said Johns Hopkins spokesman Dennis O’Shea.
If Johns Hopkins is any example, there would have to be more discussion with colleges and hospitals before they take a position on extending payment in lieu of taxes.
The City Council has taken no action on the bill and a spokesman for the mayor says she has no intention of superseding the original agreement.