County Nixes Tax Break for MD Firefighters

Aug. 7, 2018
Baltimore County officials said the tax break for firefighters and police would result in a $5.3 million revenue reduction annually.

The Baltimore County Council on Monday decided against granting property tax breaks to police officers, firefighters and other public safety workers.

Councilman Wade Kach had proposed phasing in a property tax break of up to $2,500 for eligible public safety workers over the next three years.

With more than 2,000 people eligible, the break would have resulted in a revenue reduction of $5.3 million per year when fully phased-in, according to a county analysis.

Council members voted 4-3 along party lines to table the measure, effectively defeating it. Kach and Republicans voted against tabling the tax credit, while Democrats voted for tabling it.

Kach had said the tax break would have helped recruit public safety workers and convince them to make their home in the county.

A variety of Baltimore County public safety employees and volunteer firefighters would get yearly property tax credits under a proposal the County Council is considering.

During a public hearing last week, Kach noted that other jurisdictions — including Anne Arundel and Howard counties — have passed similar property tax credits.

“So I see down the road that Baltimore County is going to be at a disadvantage in regard to attracting police, firefighters, correctional officers, volunteers, simply because those counties are giving this property tax break,” said Kach, a Cockeysville Republican.

Those eligible for the property tax credit would have included firefighters, emergency medical technicians, correctional officers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies employed by the county, as well as volunteer firefighters who accumulate a certain amount of work credits.

The measure had the support of unions and groups representing police officers, correctional officers and firefighters.

Baltimore’s spending board on Wednesday authorized a small tax cut for city homeowners that Mayor Catherine Pugh included in her budget proposal for next fiscal year.

Since becoming mayor in December 2016, Pugh has continued to fund the phased-in tax credit that began under former Mayor Stephanie...

Some Democrats on the council previously expressed concerns that granting the tax credits would be too costly.

At Monday’s council meeting, members also approved the appointment of Robert W. O’Connor as acting director of the Office of Information Technology. O’Connor, a longtime county IT employee, will serve as acting director through the end of the term of County Executive Don Mohler in December.

“I’m just honored to represent the agency, and for the next several months, I’ll do my best to work with this team, this very strong team,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor replaces Rob Stradling, who resigned from the county in May.

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