Report: The Unintended Consequences of Impact Fees in Baltimore County

Baltimore County has an opportunity to appeal to young professional families, including people who presently live in high-rent city apartments.  That would expand the county’s tax base, stimulate commercial activity, and help rebalance the county demographically. However, proposed tax and development fee increases could induce many young people to opt for residences in other counties.  That would serve to limit Baltimore County’s tax base growth, and hurt the local construction industry, local retailers and other commercial enterprises. Proposed impact fees would also potentially impact the pace of commercial development, resulting in even more burden placed on shrinking numbers of prime age workers/households.  Such outcomes would be inconsistent with long-term investment in infrastructure, including schools.Read Full Report Here... Continue reading
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Joseph (Jay) A. Schwartz, III: Senate Bill 30 ‒ The Pundits and Perhaps the Most Extraordinary Vote In General Assembly History

The just concluded General Assembly Session was one that none of the pundits saw coming. So they said: It is an election year; there will be a lot of bills filed but nothing of substance will be enacted; partisan wrangling will be the order of the day; blah, blah, blah. But here’s what happened. It was a remarkably bipartisan 90 days where the Governor and President Miller and Speaker Busch found a way (1) to shore up the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange in spite of efforts to undo Obamacare in Washington, (2) secured an agreement with Virginia and the District of Columbia for dedicated Metro funding which had been argued about for years, (3) agreed on an historic package of tax incentives for the potential Amazon headquarters in Montgomery County, (4) compromised on an omnibus crime package designed to assist law enforcement in Baltimore, (5) changed the school funding/tax formula to... Continue reading
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Our apologies for this morning's delay in the Center Maryland email and website updates. We encountered technical problems starting at 4 a.m., which we have now fixed.Thanks for your patience.... Continue reading
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Moving beyond outrage over violent crime

By Donald C. Fry: Baltimore’s tragic week of 32 shootings that left 12 dead since last Friday has triggered a round of public outrage and concern voiced by elected leaders over both the shootings themselves and, to some extent, the public statements from police about violence in the city. This fresh round of public dialogue about violent crime in Baltimore City serves to frame an important assessment about the nature of the city’s decades-long effort to reduce violent crime and to gauge the prospects for progress as that effort continues. The shootings during the last seven days occurred in more than a dozen incidents that took place between June 22 and June 27 in a broad range of neighborhoods in eastern, western, northern, northwestern and southwestern parts of the city. Initial reactions by city police acknowledged, but downplayed the violent weekend, terming it “a little bit of a spike,” noting that such spikes... Continue reading
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Donald C. Fry: Amid fiscal shuffle, Maryland lawmakers pass measures to spur business growth

By Donald C. Fry In a General Assembly session punctuated by more fiscal shuffling to close yet another budget deficit, state lawmakers this year managed to enact a number of bills that could favorably impact the Maryland’s business competitiveness. One of the more significant measures – the governor’s “sustainable communities” legislation – passed on the last day of the session. Among other things, the measure extends the availability of tax incentives for commercial rehabilitation of historic buildings and broadens incentives to other structures in preferred growth areas. It will make $10 million in grants available for FY 2011 -- up to a 25 percent credit for commercial rehabilitation of historic buildings and a 10 percent credit for other rehabilitations in designated growth areas. Strongly supported by the Greater Baltimore Committee and business advocates, this legislation will continue and broaden a proven tool for generating private-sector investment and economic activity. Since the... Continue reading
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