The Prince George's County Council is considering a bill that would give qualifying senior citizens property tax relief.
Councilman Edward Burroughs proposed the bill that would offer senior citizens who are at least 65 years old and have lived in their homes for at least 10 years a 20% property tax break on homes assessed at $500,000 or less.
“I knocked on thousands of doors in my special election and I heard from almost every senior they need relief from their government,” he said.
It's a Maryland tax credit that other counties like Howard and Montgomery already implemented but could not get passed by the Prince George's County Council.
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Some members proposed raising property taxes in previous years because of the county's limited commercial tax base.
“There's got to be some revenue generating venture, but why is it always on the backs of the homeowners?” asked Andrew Holloway, who has lived in his Accokeek house for more than 30 years.
Council Chair Calvin Hawkins said Burroughs’ approach made the difference.
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“Through the legislation he brought forth, we all agreed that this was the best way to help them as a first step,” Hawkins said.
Holloway is painfully aware that as a homeowner in Prince George's County he pays some of the highest property taxes based on home value in the state.
“You never catch up, and that’s what this might help some folks get to the point where they can slow down and take a breather,” Holloway said. “It’s not a whole lot by comparison, but it is a bunch for those who don't have it.”
The bill passed unanimously in second reading, which means in another two weeks the Council is expected to hold public hearings and then vote.
Burroughs said the tax credit is expected to cost the county less than $10 million in tax revenue over five years. If passed, the tax break will go into effect in October 2023. Residents would need to apply by then.