BALTIMORE — A grassroots effort to lower Baltimore city's property tax rate has failed.
Organizers started two petitions to put a referendum on the November ballot but fell short of collecting enough signatures.
The group Renew Baltimore wanted to cut the city's property tax rate more than 40 percent.
They hoped it would make it easier for more people to own their own homes, prevent people from moving out of the city, and save dying neighborhoods.
Renew Baltimore needed 10,000 signatures to sign its petitions to lower the city's property tax rate, but fell about 1,000 signatures short.
The group wanted two Baltimore city charter amendments.
One petition was to lower the city's property tax rate over a six-year period by about 44%, from 2.248% to 1.250%, and then cap it.
The other petition was to prevent the chances of the lower tax rate being arbitrarily reversed in the future.
Organizers believe this would attract new employers and residents, grow the city's tax base, as well as increase home values and local investment, which in turn could help investment in Baltimore schools and city services.
They said the lower tax savings would have been significant for homeowners. On a property assessed at $200,000, a homeowner would save $496 in taxes in year one, but $1,996 in taxes by year six, for a total of $7,476 saved in taxes over the six year reduction.
Baltimore city's population is now less than 600,000 people.
organizers said instead of maintaining high taxes to make up for a shrinking tax base, that the city should lower taxes to stop people from moving out, encourage growth, and new investment in Baltimore.