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The Nose

Home Away From Home

SDAT lists wrong address for Sen. Lisa Gladden

Posted 3/12/2008

While reviewing Sen. Gladden's information, the Nose also discovered that the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation has incorrect information on file for a piece of property Gladden co-owns with her brother. The house, located at 1808 Rutland Ave., outside of Gladden's 41st district, is listed in the department's records as Gladden's "principal residence." Gladden, as we mentioned earlier, lives with her mother on White Chapel Road, within the confines of the district she represents.

"I've never lived there," she says of the four-story rowhouse on Rutland. "No, it shouldn't be listed as my primary residence. It belonged to my father's godmother."

The records error points up the problem city and state officials have in administering the Homestead Tax Credit, an often valuable break that caps the property tax increase on the homes people live in--rather than rent out--at a tiny fraction of the increased assessment. The State Department of Assessments and Taxation's records aren't always correct, and it can be very difficult to get the agency to change them.

Gladden's Rutland Avenue property, assessed at $16,200 and paid off more than a decade ago, isn't likely to yield a lot more tax revenue no matter how it is classified. But the tax cap has become a hot topic this year both in Annapolis and Baltimore. State lawmakers last year decreed that everyone receiving the tax break would have to apply for it this year--a first--and now glitches in that system and complaints from homeowners about confusing forms and shifting deadlines have state lawmakers pondering their next move. Meanwhile, in Baltimore, 14th District City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke introduced a resolution calling for repeal of the state law requiring people to apply for the homestead tax break, and then put in a bill that would make cheating on the tax a criminal offense (Councilmania, Feb. 13 and in this issue).

Told of the council bill, and of Clarke's later realization that it isn't easy for property owners to get their status changed in the state tax records, Gladden laughs.

"If you call SDAT, please tell them it's not my residence," she says.

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