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March 19, 2009

California congressman gets Maryland tax break after declaring Anne Arundel waterfront home as primary residence

Bloomberg News is reporting that Rep. Pete Stark, a California Democrat who is the second-ranking majority member of the Ways and Means Committee, has received tax breaks for declaring his $1.7 million waterfront home in Anne Arundel County as his primary residence.

Stark received state and county homestead tax breaks worth $3,853 in 2007 and 2008, Bloomberg’s Tim Burger reported. Stark told the news organization that while he lives in the home for about two-thirds of the year, he votes in the California Bay Area district he represents, and he and his wife have California driver’s licenses.

Assessment officials in Maryland have said they will look into the matter.

A week ago, the Associated Press reported that Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat who represents the Bronx, was declared ineligible to receive a homestead exemption in Montgomery County, where county officials now say they will review the property records of members of Congress living there.

Maryland property records show that Stark’s home – owned with his wife, Deborah – is valued for tax purposes at $1.7 million, and sits on 6.35 acres of waterfront property in Harwood. It appears he has owned the home since 1992.

The area of Pete Stark's Chesapeake Bay home, in Anne Arundel County's Harwood neighborhood, which he claims as a primary residence.

Posted by David Nitkin at 2:57 PM | | Comments (9)


Congressman Wexler from Florida is doing the same thing. He did not even OWN a home in Florida.

I wonder if this man voted in local and state elections. what would the sunpaper say if roscoe bartlett did something this.

Hey, Scott, let's not make this partisan. The Congresscritters of both parties do things like this. And, not just Congs cheat. Years ago the head of the IRS in Maryland was nailed for living here but claiming his Florida home as his primary residence. Not a bad deal since Florida has no state income tax. Too many of the elites are crooks. Paying taxes is for the little people.

Good, start with the out of towners then move on to all the suburbanites (famous Orioles shortstops) who receive agricultural tax breaks on their residential properties. This story has been ripe for a decade, at least, maybe in a recession it will get done.

I am so tired of politicians using their office to obtain benefits for themselves and their families, particularly illegal benefits. These people are our lawmakers, yet they don't follow the laws. Congress should censure Rep Stark. If he is living in Maryland 2/3 of the year, he shouldn't be representing California. I guess he couldn't afford waterfront property in his home State.

Well, at least if he lives here most of the time, maybe he looks out for the interests of the whole nation and not just his his home state. The guy's almost 80 -- I'm not surprised he doesn't fly weekly redeyes. There was a time when most in Congress lived back here. Now it's politically dangerous to do that, and you open yourself to criticism of being tainted by big-bad-corrupt Washington. I kind of wish more of them lived around here. Maybe there would be fewer earmarks, less parochialism, a little cameraderie, and more concern about the greater good of the country as a whole. We could kinda use it these days.

This is not about which member of which party did what. My post concerns the reaction of the media. The Sunpapers has different standards for liberal and conservatives. I want the Sun to treat both ideologies fairly.

I live in Mr. Stark's district in California. He stops by a couple times a year to pick up his mail.

I'm sure this is being done by both Dems and Republicans, as well as many others, which is why the GA changed the law and requires each homeowner to re-apply for the homestead tax break. What MD revenuers should do, though, is ACCEPT that these homes are principal residences, and then subject their owners to state income taxes at resident rates. I think they would make out much better in revenue that way.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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