Thursday, March 3, 2016

House expected to OK change to school funding formula that has cost Baltimore

The House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would change the statewide calculation of education aid, which has cost Baltimore and several other jurisdictions money in recent years.
Baltimore Democratic Del. Maggie McIntosh, who heads the powerful House Appropriations Committee, introduced the bill to address what she has called the problem of "artificial wealth" that has dragged down the amount of school aid for which Baltimore is eligible.
The city's recent increases in its assessable property tax base haven't been matched by revenue because many of the largest projects that have driven Baltimore's wealth calculation are covered by agreements with developers to forgo some property taxes to encourage their investment.
The legislation would change the formula by accounting for those agreements, known as tax increment financing. Over the past year, the increasing wealth formula — along with a decrease in student enrollment — has cost the city an estimated $24 million in state aid.

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