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Bill to encourage police, firefighters to live in Baltimore city advances

State lawmakers are poised to grant a property tax break to Baltimore police officers, sheriff's deputies and fire fighters who buy a home in the city.

The House of Delegates on Monday unanimously approved a bill to allow the city to give first responders a tax credit of up to $2,500, leaving the details up to Baltimore to decide. The state Senate unanimously approved an identical bill earlier this month. One of the chambers will have to pass the other's bill before it can be sent to Gov. Larry Hogan for final approval.

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The governor has no position on the proposal, a spokesman said.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked the legislature for permission to create the tax incentive in order to increase the number of officers who live in the communities they police.

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"When police live in the city, it helps stabilize our neighborhoods," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement Monday.

About a quarter of the city's police force lives in Baltimore, and roughly a third of fire fighters do, according to a 2012 report by the Abell Foundation.

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