Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
BALTIMORE – The City Council early next year will vote on a proposal to raise taxes on property sales and inheritances to help low-income residents pay for housing.
“Baltimore City is a difficult place to live right now for a lot of people,” City Councilman Bill Henry said Thursday about the legislation he submitted. “They just don’t have the money and the resources to pay all of their bills. Society has a responsibility to address that.”
Under the legislation, Henry proposes to raise the recording fee by 20 percent and transfer taxes by 17 percent. These actions should raise about $10 million annually, providing a “sustainable revenue source” for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, he said.
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said the council would study Henry’s proposal.
Voters created the Trust Fund but it has no money in it. The recording fee charged on every $500 worth of property sold would increase from $5 to $6, if the legislation is passed. The transfer tax charged on inheritances would increase from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.
Young and Councilman John Bullock also submitted legislation to create a task force that will make recommendations on new revenue streams for affordable housing.
In other action, the City Council unanimously voted for legislation that would establish a temporary administrative structure to distribute more than $12 million for youth programs. Young, Bullock, Mary Pat Clark and Zeke Cohen are among the sponsors of the Children and Youth Fund, which was approved by 80 percent of the voters.
Council members said that for the first year, Associated Black Charities, a public foundation, will lead in distributing the grant. In addition, the programs that request these funds will have to demonstrate successful outcome for young people.
The Board of Estimates, the city’s spending panel, must provide the final vote, officials said.