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Low-income seniors in Baltimore qualify for new tax credit

Some low-income seniors will be eligible for a new tax credit under a measure pushed by City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young as a way to help keep longtime homeowners in Baltimore.

To qualify, residents must be at least 62 years old, have an annual income lower than $40,000 and have owned their homes for a decade or longer. The tax break will vary depending on several factors, including income and the value of the home.

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More than 6,200 properties are believed to be eligible for the extra credit, which is expected to cost the city up to $4 million a year.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed the bill this month.

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Rawlings-Blake and Young were recently locked in a feud over Young's desire to see the mayor free up about $4 million for youth programs in the city's budget, which took effect this month.

The two negotiated budget cuts to free up money for the youth programs.

Young said Monday he is grateful the mayor signed the tax credit bill. Finding money in the city's $2.6 billion operating budget is always a matter of priorities, he said.

The new tax break will be significant for a senior on a fixed income looking to make ends meet, Young said.

"It will go a long way to helping them stay in their homes," he said.

A senior with an annual income of $25,000 who pays $1,770 a year in property taxes —- after factoring in any state credit they may be eligible for — would save an additional $380 under the program.

About a dozen jurisdictions in Maryland have similar tax credits.

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