An overwhelming majority of the people who took last week's Wonk poll think Baltimore should lower its property tax rate significantly, and now -- despite (or because of) the tight budgetary times.

As of last night, 92 percent of you poll-takers said you agree with Baltimore economist Anirban Basu that the city's rate of $2.268 per $100 of assessed value needs to be cut now.


Six percent said not now, but when the economy's doing well.

Just two percent opted for the straight "no."

And one person felt so strongly about this that he or she skipped over the "yes" option to write in an answer: "Hell yes."

People usually like the idea of having less taxes to pay, so that was a pretty easy question for you all to answer. Now I challenge you to tackle a harder one: What cuts or adjustments should the city make to account for the (at least short-term) drop in revenue? What can the city do to avoid counteracting the "come on in" message of lower taxes with the unwelcome-mat of decreasing quality of services?

Proponents of rate reductions say a big cut would bring more residents, increasing the sources of revenue, but let's assume for this exercise that tens of thousands of people won't immediately drop everything to move in. (Also, you'll want to take into account that the city is already grappling with reduced revenues. Mayor Sheila Dixon announced in September that the city would have to "immediately reduce spending" to deal with a $60 million decline in revenue and state aid.)

Extra points to anyone with an idea more specific than "reduce waste." Here are two proposals from commenters to get you started.

MCG suggests a tax-related strategy:

Josh Dowlut has a


Dowlut points out that you can find the Citizens' Guide to the Fiscal 2009 budget here.

Ready, set ... go.