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Mayor signs bill offering tax credits to residents who move but stay in Baltimore

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signs a bill authorizing tax credits for residents who move houses in Baltimore
(Luke Broadwater/The Baltimore Sun)

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Thursday signed into law legislation to offer up to $5,000 in tax credits to homeowners who move to new homes but choose to remain in the city.

The Resident Retention Tax Credits — which were approved unanimously by the council — are intended to help residents who lose their Homestead tax credits when they switch homes.

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"For too many families, the choice between staying or leaving comes down to tax relief," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "This legislation is the latest effort from my Administration to ease the tax burden on families who want to stay in Baltimore City, but are afraid they won't be able to afford to do so.  We are making it easier for families who want to grow within Baltimore City, to find attractive options right here as opposed to moving to another jurisdiction."

The program was pushed at the state level by Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat. Her bill allowed city homeowners to transfer a portion of the Homestead tax credit from their old building to a new property. State Sen. Bill Ferguson sponsored the Senate version of the bill.

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The Rawlings-Blake administration altered the General Assembly's proposal, because the state plan was "extremely complex," city finance officials said. Instead, the city allocated $3 million — which will cover about 750 credits — for the program. They will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Residents will receive a $1,000 tax credit in the program's first year, followed by credits of $900, $800, $700 and $600. Homeowners who buy in poorer areas could be eligible to earn an additional $200 in credits per year.

The average Homestead property tax credit per year in Baltimore is currently $860.

The tax credit program will begin in 2015. Residents must apply before closing on their new homes, city officials said.

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lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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