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Excise tax legislation clears Senate panel

April 09, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - Legislation to revise Washington County's building excise tax on new development cleared another hurdle on Friday when the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee agreed to take it to the full Senate for a vote.

The bill already has cleared the House of Delegates.

The Washington County Growth Management Act of 2005 grants enabling authority to the County Commissioners to convert the excise tax from its current square-footage calculation for residential development to a flat fee of up to $13,000 per housing unit.

In developments with 25 or more units, the cap doubles to $26,000.

The excise tax on commercial development still will be calculated on the basis of the size of new development, with a cap of $5 per square foot.

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The money from the excise tax is to be used to help pay for new roads, schools and other infrastructure needs resulting from growth.

Municipalities within the county that adopt Adequate Public Facility Ordinances will be permitted to keep part of the money collected from the tax for growth-related capital projects within their jurisdictions.

If approved by the Senate, the revised tax will become effective July 1.

Though an attempt had been made in the House to amend the bill to exempt development already approved, and while an Annapolis lobbyist, employed by Zenith Construction Co. in Hagerstown, had sought a sponsor for the amendment in the Senate, no formal attempt was made to amend the bill in the Senate committee.

Committee Chairman Ulysses Currie said Friday evening he did not know exactly when the full Senate would vote on the bill.

"I would say it's in motion," he said.

The Senate will have to vote on the bill either today or Monday, which is the final day of the General Assembly's regular session.

The legislation was requested by the Washington County Commissioners to help pay for the impact of new development in the county.

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