MACo Opposes Statewide Mandated Tax Setoff Process

Michael Sanderson, MACo Executive Director, testified in opposition to HB 690, Property Tax Fairness Act of 2015 (Strengthening Maryland Municipalities), to the House Ways and Means Committee, on March 4, 2015. This bill would imposes a one-sided mandate on each county and municipal government to negotiate property tax setoffs to the complete satisfaction of both parties. HB 690 would overturn decades of state law, derived through local deliberation and each county’s delegation support, and place all counties into one strict law, making the tax setoff mandatory instead of optional.

MACo’s written testimony states:

Further, county governments engage in a wide range of in-kind services, grants, and other agreements that help serve municipal residents. These arrangements are not captured in any summary of tax setoffs, but represent material benefit to municipalities just the same. Under HB 690, many of these agreements and arrangements would surely be undermined as county resources were compromised.

During the public hearing, several Committee members raised questions about the statewide nature of the bill, rather than pursuing local legislation (as another bill heard the same day sought to do for Frederick County only).

For more on MACo’s 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.

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