BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the chicken or egg question of this year’s race for mayor: lower property taxes to increase Baltimore’s population or increase the population to lower taxes? WJZ looked to some of the candidates for the answer.
Alex DeMetrick reports.
Property taxes fund police and fire, trash pickup and infrastructure, education from kindergarten to high school. It all makes lowering the property tax in Baltimore a challenge.
“It’s an absolute tough thing to do,” said State Senator Catherine Pugh.
According to state records, Anne Arundel County has a 2.3% property tax rate, Baltimore County is 2.75% and Baltimore City’s is 5.6%.
Mayoral candidate Nick Mosby says he’ll lower Baltimore’s rate.
“That percentage will be coming out. Again, we’re going to have a specific policy release on that percentage and exactly how we’re going to do it,” he said.
Pugh says she already has some specifics in mind.
“We begin to redevelop areas where we’ve had blight for a number of years that we can create a special property tax reduction area,” she said.
The kind of perk major developments have received.
“Why don’t we give everyone in the city a break?” said Councilman Carl Stokes.
Candidate Carl Stokes says across the board cuts in property taxes will bring more people to Baltimore and generate more money.
“That we make an even playing field for all developers, for all homeowners, for all property owners in the city of Baltimore,” Stokes said.
According to the website Real Estate Wonk, the average price for a house in Anne Arundel County is $375,000 with a tax bill of $3,700. It’s $302,000 in Baltimore County with taxes of $3,600. The average house price in the city is $171,000 with a tax bill of $4,000.
“It’s not an easy task and I’ve been there and chipped at it,” said Sheila Dixon.
Former mayor and candidate Sheila Dixon believes in investing in better schools and public safety.
“Then ultimately we’ll begin to retain citizens, increase people coming here to the city, people buying into the greatness we have here in the city,” Dixon said.
To make the city’s property tax rate competitive with surrounding counties, it would have to be reduced by half.