Urban Agriculture Tax Credit.
In 2010, the state of Maryland adopted a bill that authorized the city council of Baltimore City and any county to approve a tax credit for property used for “urban agricultural purposes.”
Note: Baltimore City is an “independent city,” which means that it is not part of any county, but the city itself functions like a county. Baltimore County surrounds Baltimore City but does not contain any part of the City.
The state bill did not create the tax credit; it merely authorized Baltimore City or the counties to approve one, if they chose to.
Urban agricultural purposes include:
- crop production activities.
- environmental mitigation activities.
- community development activities, including recreational activities, food donations, and food preparation and canning classes.
- economic development activities.
- temporary produce stands to sell produce grown on-site.
The tax credit would be designed to offset some or all of the property taxes on the property used for urban agricultural purposes; the city or county would have the ultimate authority to determine the amount of the tax credit, any additional eligibility criteria for the credit, and procedures for applying for it.
In November 2011, the Baltimore City Council, following advice from the Mayor’s office, voted against the urban agriculture tax credit.
In a time of severe budget shortfalls, cities like Baltimore are looking to maintain and increase revenue in any way they can, and city council members did not want to exempt urban agriculture from property taxes. The council member who sponsored the tax credit, however, pointed out that the city does often still give tax breaks to wealthier developers.
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