Minor privilege tax also affects residential property owners [Letter]

I could not agree more with your editorial regarding the minor privilege tax ("Minor privilege, major disincentive," Aug. 13).

While the article was business focused, this absurd tax also hits the residential property owners in the city.

A couple of months after purchasing a home in Baltimore City in 2012, I received a bill for a minor privilege tax. Being new to the city, I had no idea what this tax was. After a couple of phone calls I found out that I will be charged a $193.25 yearly fee for having a second floor bay window on my house and for a 5-inch piece of conduit that runs under the sidewalk in front of my house.

There is nothing on my house that blocks the passage way of the sidewalk at all. The bay window sticks out no further than my neighbor's steps and the window is on the second level of my home. The conduit is buried underneath the concrete!

I contacted City Councilman Jim Kraft's office and was told about the amendment that would be required to fight this tax. I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to read that the mayor vetoed this amendment before it could even get to a vote.

I wonder how much of the $2.7 million raised by this tax is being paid by already over-taxed city homeowners?

Mark Bittenbender, Baltimore

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