Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsMarylandPoliticsMaryland Politics blog

Councilman wants 90% tax break for urban farmers

Laws and LegislationMary Pat ClarkeCarl StokesBill HenryBelinda ConawayWilliam H. Cole IV

City Councilman William "Pete" Welch is calling for a large tax break for urban farmers in Baltimore.

In legislation he plans to introduce Thursday, Welch is seeking a 90 percent break on property taxes for an urban farmer who grows and sells at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables in a year.

Welch said he hopes the legislation will help eliminate the city's so-called food deserts in which some neighborhoods have no access to healthy food nearby. 

"We have a disparity in access to fresh fruit and vegetables," Welch said. 

Such legislation was last tried three years ago by City Council members Mary Pat Clarke and Warren Branch, but it was opposed by the mayor's office who argued it would set a bad precedent for an already cash-strapped city. Their bill, which promised a 100 percent property tax break to urban farmers, died in committee. 

The bill found support from Councilwoman Belinda Conaway and Councilman Bill Henry, but was opposed by Council Vice Chariman Edwarrd Reisinger and committee chairman Carl Stokes. The committee's other member, Councilman William Cole IV, was not present. The tie vote meant the measure failed to pass.

Clarke expressed outrage at the time after learning that the the city's finance department had urged her colleagues to vote against the bill. 

"I know we give tax breaks to well-to-do developers," Clarke said. Urban farmers, she said, "aren't wealthy. They're not well-heeled. They don't hang out and sit with their suits at tables and talk about how they'll help the city. They just do it."

Welch said he's met with some other council members about the issue, and believes it has a good chance to pass this year. 

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Laws and LegislationMary Pat ClarkeCarl StokesBill HenryBelinda ConawayWilliam H. Cole IV
  • Complete Coverage: Baltimore Sun Poll 2014
    Complete Coverage: Baltimore Sun Poll 2014

    OpinionWorks of Annapolis conducted the poll for The Baltimore Sun. See how Maryland voters responded when asked about the gubernatorial and presidential races, as well as issues facing state lawmakers.

  • Maryland's 2014 candidates for governor
    Maryland's 2014 candidates for governor

    The 2014 campaign for Maryland governor is well under way, with contested primary races in both the Democratic and Republican parties. The primary election is June 24. Candidates include three Democrats and four Republicans. -- Michael Dresser

  • General Assembly 2014 session [Pictures]
    General Assembly 2014 session [Pictures]
  • Baltimore City mayors through the years
    Baltimore City mayors through the years

    Since its founding in 1797, Baltimore has had 57 mayors. Between 1919 and the present, 13 have occupied the mayoral chair at City Hall. Here are some facts about those mayors, along with some of their major accomplishments. --Frederick N. Rasmussen Also see: Maryland governors through the...

  • Top-paid lobbyists in Maryland for 2011
    Top-paid lobbyists in Maryland for 2011

    Eight Maryland lobbyists got more than $1 million in billing compensation, as companies spent heavily trying to promote their agendas in Annapolis. Lobbyists have to report their activities, and a listing is generated each time an advocate picks up an active client. In this gallery, you can...

  • Top-lobbying Maryland companies in 2011
    Top-lobbying Maryland companies in 2011

    Companies and organizations spent big money on lobbyists last year, looking for help in convincing the state government to act in their interests. Here are some of the biggest spenders, according to a Maryland State Ethics Commission report covering the period between Nov. 1, 2010 and Oct....

Comments
Loading