Frederick County Drops Development Excise Tax

In a 3-1 vote, the Frederick County Board of Commissioners voted to drop the county’s development excise tax rate to zero.  The previous excise tax ranged from 75 cents per square foot for commercial building and zero to 25 cents per square foot for homes. The Frederick News Post reports that the county could not only lose up to $925,000  a year by zeroing the tax, but also cause delays in transportation projects.

But while officials are giving up a source of revenue, Commissioners President Blaine Young said cutting the excise tax will encourage economic growth. And the county could recoup some of the funding losses by attracting jobs and businesses to the area and broadening the overall tax base.

“It (lowering the excise tax) makes us look a little more business-friendly,” he said Tuesday. “We’re going to benefit all around.”

Commissioner Paul Smith voted against the decision, adding that he would have been open to scaling back the tax but didn’t see the need for slashing it to nothing.

“Adjusting the rates may be appropriate from time to time, especially if we have a tax that stops job development. But I haven’t seen anyone come forward to say that’s the case,” Smith said.

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