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Baltimore City Council votes for tax credits for law enforcement officers

The Baltimore City Council on Monday gave preliminary approval to legislation that would provide $2,500 in tax credits to law enforcement officers who choose to live in Baltimore.

The council unanimously voted in favor of the bill, which is designed to lure more police, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies to the city. It needs one more vote to advance to the desk of Mayor Catherine Pugh, who supports the legislation.

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Supporters argue that increased the number of police officers who live in Baltimore is key to improving the strained relationship between police and community members.

“The property tax credit is a valuable homeownership incentive for police officers,” said City Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton.

“This bill is intended to not only help recruit public safety officers to our city but also help retain them,” said Councilman Eric T. Costello, lead sponsor of the legislation. “Not only is this an opportunity to grow our city, but this is an opportunity to get officers invested in the neighborhoods they’ve serving.”

The legislation expires after 10 years.

Of nearly 3,000 Baltimore Police Department employees, fewer than 500 live in the city, according to Baltimore government data. Of more than 1,400 Fire Department employees, fewer than 300 live in Baltimore.

The Finance Department said the tax credits could cost between $1.1 million and $2.2 million annually in lost tax revenue.

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