One Charter Amendment. One Goal
Together, we can prevent political decision-making that keeps Baltimore City’s property tax rate the highest in the state.
Baltimore City’s Charter requires that any changes to the taxation of property can be accomplished either through an act of the Baltimore City Council or by a referendum of Baltimore City voters. The complicated and politically-charged nature of local tax and budget policy often leaves our elected leaders with little incentive to make long-needed reforms to the city’s property tax rate. For this reason, Renew Baltimore is proposing an amendment to our Baltimore City’s Charter that would cap the Baltimore City property tax rate at a rate of $1.20 per $100 of assessed value. This cap would be gradually imposed over a period of seven years.
The Renew Baltimore Charter Amendment
Most amendments to Baltimore City’s Charter may be proposed either by a resolution of the Mayor of Baltimore and the City Council or through a petition signed by at least 10,000 Baltimore City voters. Once a proposed amendment receives the required number of valid, supporting petition signatures, referendum question(s) will be included on the ballot for voters to consider in the November 2024 General Election.
By incorporating a percentage cap on Baltimore City’s property tax rate in the Charter, we can rest assured that tax rates won’t easily fall victim to shifting political winds in the future.
Corresponding Referendum Petition Language
To place upper limits on the real property tax rate in Baltimore City, lowering the current $2.248 rate by capping it at $2.20 per $100 of assessed value on July 1, 2025, $2.10 per $100 of assessed value on July 1, 2026, then gradually reducing the cap by 18 cents each year thereafter until the rate is permanently capped at $1.20 per $100 of assessed value beginning July 1, 2031. The Mayor and City Council will continue to set the property tax rate annually, subject to the limits established by the amendment. The amendment adds Section 6A to Article I – General Provisions of the Baltimore City Charter. Capping the property tax rate aligns Baltimore City with surrounding counties, brings equity to City taxpayers and widens the path to home ownership. It encourages investment and growth in the City’s population, tax base, employment and economy. Upon ratification of the amendment by City voters, the first annual limit shall become effective July 1, 2025.
While the Maryland State Constitution clearly grants the City’s registered voters the power to amend the Baltimore City Charter through collective action, defined as a petitioning process, an ambiguity in Article II, sec. 49 of the Charter could be misconstrued to deny voters the power to fix the inequity in tax rates. It’s for this reason that the language of a new Article 1, Section 6A will state that the caps shall be applied “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of this Charter.”
New Article 1, Section 6A
§ 6A. Limits on taxation.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, and except for property exempt by law, the uniform rate of taxation which shall be levied and imposed on every $100 of assessed or assessable value of real property in Baltimore City, as determined by the Mayor and City Council pursuant to Article II, Section 39 of this Charter, shall be:
(a) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2025, no higher than $2.200;
(b) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2026, no higher than $2.100;
(c) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2027, no higher than $1.920;
(d) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2028, no higher than $1.740;
(e) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2029, no higher than $1.560;
(f) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2030, no higher than $1.380; and
(g) for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2031, and for each and every fiscal year thereafter, no higher than $1.200.
How to Sign the Petitions
While the process of completing and signing the petitions is very simple, state and local laws for referendum petitions require that very specific measures are taken to ensure the validity of every signature. As such, petitions cannot be signed electronically. Instead, the petitions must be filled-in and signed on paper and mailed to: Renew Baltimore at 735 W. 36th St., Baltimore, MD 21211 OR collected by a member of the Renew Baltimore team, a volunteer, or a paid circulator who is familiar with the requirements. See below to print or request petition copies.
Print the Petitions
**Please read the instructions below carefully before printing the petitions.**
- There is one petition. It must be completed and signed.
- The petition must be printed as a two-sided (front-back) document in order to be valid and get counted. If you are unable to print double-sided documents, please complete the form below to request a petition be sent to you.
- The petition has four boxes for four different people to complete and sign. You can return a petition page with only one box completed (by one person) – or with up to four boxes completed.
- Read all “Petition Signature Requirements (Instructions)” below under Additional Information for Petition Signers.
Request Petition Copies
Please complete the form below with your contact information to receive printed petition copies in the mail. If you would like to distribute petition copies to friends and neighbors, you can also use the form below to request multiple copies.
Additional Information for Petition Signers and Circulators
You must be a registered voter in Baltimore City (Click here to check your registration status.) Each registered voter signing the petition must provide the following information on the signature page (all information except the signature must be printed or typed in the appropriate space on the form):
|Printed Name||Signed Name||Acceptable or Not?|
|John Henry Smith||John Henry Smith||Acceptable|
|John Smith||John H. Smith||Acceptable|
|John Smith||J. Henry Smith||Acceptable|
|John Smith||J. H. Smith||Acceptable|
|J. Smith||J. Smith||Not Acceptable|
|J. Smith||J. H. Smith||Not Acceptable|
Note: You may only sign a petition for the same referendum once. Voters may sign multiple, different petitions as they wish.
to collect petition signatures)
Each signature page of the petition must include an affidavit, completed by a circulator who is an individual (not a business or organization), stating that:
- All identifying information given by the circulator is true and correct;
- Signatures were placed on the petition in the circulator’s presence; and
- Based on the circulator’s best knowledge and belief, each signature on the page is genuine and each signer is a registered voter in Baltimore City.
- Renew Baltimore will provide volunteers with an affidavit to include with petition packages.
- Circulators must sign and date the affidavit but should wait until after all petition signers have signed and dated the page. Any signature on the page that is dated after the circulator’s affidavit is invalid.
- A petition circulator must be at least 18 years old when any signature covered by the affidavit is placed on the petition. Maryland law does not require the petition circulator to be a registered voter or a Maryland resident.