Baltimore City Council Considers Providing Tax Credit For Urban Farmers

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is lending her support to legislation sponsored by Baltimore City Council Member William “Pete” Welch to provide a tax credit for urban farmers.

In legislation pending in a City Council committee, Welch is seeking a 90 percent break on property taxes for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year. The credits, which must be approved by the city’s Office of Sustainability, are good for five years, but can be renewed for a total of 10 years, according to the bill.

Welch has said he hopes the legislation will help eliminate the city’s so-called food deserts in which some neighborhoods have no access to healthy food nearby.

The Mayor held a press conference today in support of the legislation, which will heard in committee when the Council convenes this evening.

Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said the new bill is needed because several urban farms in Baltimore are smaller than five acres and therefore do not qualify for a state-authorized tax break.