UNLOCKING BALTIMORE'S POTENTIAL FOR ALL

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Advancing equity and inclusive economic strength in Baltimore requires a property tax system that is fair for all.

For decades, Baltimore City and its residents have been burdened by a property tax that far exceeds those of surrounding counties. Currently, our property tax rate is 2.248%, more than double Baltimore County’s rate of 1.100%. Our exorbitant property tax rate makes it difficult for people to live in our city and for businesses to do business in our city. It also discourages much-needed real estate investment—everything from ordinary home improvements to large-scale redevelopment of vacant and abandoned property.

Some will argue that revenue losses as a result of population decline require cities like Baltimore to cover budget shortfalls with higher property tax rates. However, budget experts, analysts and case studies in cities across the U.S. that have cut property taxes tell us that this approach is backward. With a lower tax rate, we can stop population loss, incentivize growth and bring new investment to the city, increasing revenues across the board and improving the quality of life for every resident, business and community in Baltimore City.

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From nationally-recognized economists to Baltimore’s leading economic development agencies, experts agree: Renewal and equitable growth in Baltimore City require a competitive tax rate.

“Of all the things holding Baltimore back, there is only one that the City Council and mayor could change with a stroke of the pen, and that is the property tax rate.”

“. . . states working to overcome racial inequities, in part by improving their tax and budget policies and more adequately financing needed public services . . . in turn should broadly benefit state economies.”

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
July 2020

“A key step is to develop a plan to reduce real property taxes and codify it in the Baltimore City Charter through a referendum. For our small businesses to thrive, a major step to support their retention and growth is to reduce the real property tax in Baltimore City.”

September 2021