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Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young collected a homestead tax credit of about $1,000 on a rowhouse in East Baltimore he doesn’t live in. This is his home on Madison Street worth $70,000.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young collected a homestead tax credit of about $1,000 on a rowhouse in East Baltimore he doesn’t live in. This is his home on Madison Street worth $70,000. (Talia Richman / Baltimore Sun)

The Homestead Tax Credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. What The Baltimore Sun describes as a problematic tax credit (“Maryland property tax credit program has longstanding issues; maybe it’s time to rethink it,” Dec. 17) is an important protection for long-term homeowners who, but for the credit, would be vulnerable to displacement and loss of equity as a result of increased taxes.

Many middle neighborhoods — those that are neither severely distressed nor rapidly improving — are seeing new development and rising property values. This tax credit helps to stabilize communities and is recognized as visionary by leaders in other cities.

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We are leaders of non-profit organizations dedicated to helping Baltimore neighborhoods remain strong, safe and attractive places to live. We work to attract new homeowners and help long-time residents stay in homes they can afford. The Homestead Tax Credit is a simple and effective program. It is a critical safeguard to ensure that increased property taxes don’t harm existing residents.

Mark Sissman and Will Smith, Baltimore

The writers are president of Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. and executive director of the Belair-Edison Neighborhood, Inc.

The letter was also signed by Mark Washington, executive director of the Coldstream Homestead Montebello Community Corp.; Lisa Budlow, CEO of Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc.; Regina Lansinger, executive director of Hamilton Lauraville Main Street; Charles B. Duff, president of Jubilee Baltimore; Don Akchin, co-chair of the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council; Kari Snyder, executive director of the Southeast Community Development Corp.; and Karen Stokes, CEO of Strong City Baltimore

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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