St. Mary's Delegation's Property Tax Bill Moves Ahead - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's Delegation's Property Tax Bill Moves Ahead

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (March 24, 2016)—A tax credit sponsored by the St. Mary's County legislative delegation has gained traction this year in Annapolis where others have made little to no progress.

The bill, HB 917, would allow the county or a municipality in the county, to grant a property tax credit to a site leased or owned by a new or expanding business that creates at least 10 full time jobs.

The industry in question must be one that has been targeted to expand by the county's economic development commission.

That commission has been working for the past two years to formulate a strategy for diversifying the county's economy, long since dependent on the defense industry.

The tax credit would be allowed for 10 years, according to the text of the bill.

The bill has made it past the floor vote in the House of Delegates by a unanimous vote of 137 to 0 and is now up for consideration in the Senate.

If it passes the county would join the ranks of neighboring Calvert and Charles counties who have the same legal authority. Fredick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Queen Anne's Talbot and Washington counties also have the authority.

The bill has been cross filed in the Senate with SB 998.

Commissioner Tom Jarboe praised the bill's success as "good news" from Annapolis.

Previous attempts to get a personal property tax exemption through the legislature, last year and presently have failed.

That measure would have used state law to bring to zero the tax rate paid by business owners on equipment and other items used in commercial operations for St. Mary's County.

The bills never made it out of committee, though the Commissioners of St. Mary's County have their own authority to zero out the personal property rate each year during their budget cycle.

An analysis of the bill by state legislative staff does not provide specific amounts for the decline in property tax revenues, rather that they would decline as much as the tax credit was afforded to new and growing businesses that met the criteria.

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