Maryland Association of Counties Associate Director Andrea Mansfield was joined by the Maryland Municipal League Director of Governmental Relations Candace Donoho, to testify in opposition to SB 232 before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. This bill would extend the Homestead Property Tax Credit to a homeowner’s second home if it is at least 90 miles away from the homeowner’s first home already receiving the credit.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator David Brinkley, testified that the credit should be expanded to assist couples like his constituents, a couple that has chosen to live separately, one in Frederick and the other in Garrett county. An article in the Baltimore Sun explained the couples circumstances and local governments opposition to the bill.
Ms. Mansfield testified that the intent of the Homestead Credit is to provide property tax relief for a primary residence, not a second home. To ensure that the credit was only being applied for primary residences, legislation passed three years ago to create an application process. Until this process was put in place, a substantial number of properties were enjoying this credit without qualifying under the law, such as rental properties or second homes.
While it is true that this bill will negatively impact property tax revenues, it will also provide an advantage to homeowners who can afford second homes. Ms. Mansfield added, this action is unfair to other taxpayers, as it depresses the tax base beyond the intent of the program.