We recently received a copy of a memo (link opens a PDF) sent to the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee from Diane Hutchins, Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations for Baltimore City.  In the memo, she asks the Committee to oppose HB1096/SB889, the split-rate property tax for vacant and uninhabitable structures.  If you remember, this measure was brought before the City Council, and received unanimous support.

In her letter, Hutchins claims “The Housing Code Enforcement (HCE division of Baltimore City’s Department of Housing and Community Development is now poised to dramatically and quantifiably increase its capacity to compel redevelopment of blighting [sic] properties.”  We’d certainly like to know what changed from a week ago…a month ago…a year ago — why is it only now that the City claims to have the capacity to deal with the problem of vacant blighted homes?  And does the City really have this ability, or is the City feeling the pressure from the scrutiny we and other groups have brought to this issue?

Folks, the bottom line is that we need this tax.  We need to send a very clear message to slumlords that there are consequences to leaving their properties to rot while the rest of us have to deal with the mess they leave behind.  Some of these slumlords have been doing business in Baltimore for well over 20 years — and the City is suddenly ready to address the issue?  We’re not sold.

Email Diane Hutchins and let her know that we need this bill!  Taxpaying law-abiding property owners should not have to pay the same property tax as someone who is constantly being hauled into Housing Court for violation after violation.  [email protected] .

8 thoughts to “Mayor Rawlings-Blake Opposes HB1096/SB889, Despite City Council Approval

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Don’t forget that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was still City Council President when this resolution was adopted. She didn’t seem to be opposed to the idea then. I wonder what made her change her mind.

    • slumlordwatch

      My guess is there are a few folks in the City government who aren’t enjoying the spotlight that’s being shone on the City’s housing problem.

  • Donald

    or there’s a few folks in the City government that own properties that they aren’t taking care of.

    • slumlordwatch

      Interesting theory…might need a closer look.

  • Denise

    This would be one of the best things to happen to Baltimore City in a long time, cleanup-wise. If slumlords want to be kings and queens of toppledown buildings? Make ’em pay for the “privilege”.

    I’m also heading to the Citizens of Pigtown meeting tomorrow night, so I can hear what Bill Cole, Agnes Welch, & Bob Reisinger have to say on this issue.

    • slumlordwatch

      Just a quick correction, because it’s really bothering me — it’s Ed Reisinger, not Bob. I have no idea how our District 10 councilman’s name was entered wrong in an email that went to the entire community…but apparently it did. So don’t call him “Bob” if you meet him. LOL. 🙂

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