Watch those property tax rates
This calculation, called the "constant yield tax rate," is a popular one for those frustrated that reassessments mean higher tax bills. I've already received two emails this morning pointing out that Baltimore's rate would drop from $2.268 for every $100 in taxable assessed value to $2.079 if city leaders go with the constant yield rate.
All the counties' rates would decrease, too. That's what happens when the assessable base expands.
As the state notes: "If a jurisdiction plans to set a tax rate higher than the constant yield rate, the jurisdiction must advertise the tax increase and hold a public hearing before setting the tax rate for fiscal 2009." (Fiscal 2009 begins July 1.)
If my math is right, the constant yield rate is truly constant -- no adjustment for inflation. Governments always see that as a cut because they say it means less in the way of services. City tax protesters, on the other hand, have argued that the revenue increases from property taxes have been well above inflation in recent years.
Property taxes are bound to be an issue this year as the city considers changing its tax structure. (Click HERE for an earlier post on the city's blue-ribbon tax reform committee.)
Meister, who ran for city council last year, said in an email on the subject: "The 2.079 rate is an 8.33% cut from the current rate of 2.268. We get an 8.33% cut by simply following what the state says. There is no need for changing the homestead tax credit, creating blue ribbon committees, legalizing gambling, or raising income taxes!"