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Plan to repeal Howard's mobile home tax stalls

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A proposal to repeal Howard County’s mobile home rental tax has been put on hold.

Councilwoman Jen Terrasa and Councilman Calvin Ball proposed a bill to relieve the 1,100 county mobile home residents from a 40-year-old tax that averages about $45 a month.

The County Council tabled the proposal last week as it considered a number of bills before leaving for a summer break.

Republican Greg Fox, one of three council members voting to table the bill, said he felt the “homework” hadn’t been done on the bill.

He said that he’s "not saying they’re not vulnerable,” but that mobile home owners weren’t excessively taxed.

Ball said there had been a “significant amount” of research done on the bill and he and Terrasa have put in legislation to address administrative clarifications, and he’s open to discussions with other council members to address concerns.

The county would lose about $614,000 a year in revenue if the bill passes.

“I think in the scheme of things, this is something that the county budget can accommodate. We’ve done a lot of other tax credits that have never had a specific idea of where the money for the tax credit would come from,” Terrasa said. “I am confident that this is something that we can work with.”

Terrasa and Ball, both Democrats, said they are hopeful a measure will pass as soon as next month.

“It’s an unfair tax and I think we heard almost unanimous support for it. I was actually pretty disappointed the council tabled it," Ball said.

More than 20 supporters came out to support for the bill at a council meeting last month, iterating the impact that the repeal of the tax would have on their lives — enabling them to pay for expenses such as tutoring and after-school activities for their children.

Mobile home park owners collect 10 percent on the first $300 of rent and 5 percent above that.

A similar tax was repealed last year in Anne Arundel County.

lbrennan@baltsun.com

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