MACo Protects Local Government Tax Collection Tool

On March 5th, Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony to the Ways & Means Committee in opposition to HB 1209 – Property Tax – Collection of Unpaid Taxes and Tax Sales.

This bill would undermine the most effective collection tool for local governments, and as a result would lead to higher rates on other ratepayers.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties are concerned that this legislation would result in significant revenue losses due to the bill’s limitations on the use of tax sales to enforce liens. Specifically, HB 1209 would require counties to enact specified judicial in rem tax foreclosure legislation, including a requirement that the dwelling of an eligible homeowner not be subject to foreclosure and sale unless the tax on the dwelling (1) has been delinquent for at least 2 years; and (2) exceeds $1,000.

The tax sale process, or more specifically the potential for a property to go to tax sale, presents a much needed tool of last resort to ensure that property owners remit payment for their fair share of taxes and charges connected to public services. Most counties in Maryland send properties to tax sale solely to enforce utility liens. This bill removes this leverage for all counties, and undoubtedly would create many more deficient accounts for utility bills from lack of enforcement – leading to increased rates on residents who properly pay.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.