Here is the text of the letter we sent to Harford County and Baltimore County state representatives concerning HB1362, a bill that would remove the requirement that 50% of the tax on real estate transactions in Harford County be spend on land preservation and 50% be spend on schools.
Please oppose HB1362. The bill would change how the proceeds of the transfer tax are distributed. Instead of 50% being dedicated to the county’s agricultural land preservation program and 50% dedicated to fund school site acquisition, Harford County Council would determine how to spend the money.
Through its Rural Legacy program, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, and the Maryland Environmental Trust, the state has demonstrated its commitment to land preservation and agriculture to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Harford County has one of the most successful county preservation programs in the state; it acts as a complement and supplement to state programs. Without Harford County’s ag program, fresh local food, clean drinking water, and greenspace will be threatened. Its strong agricultural economy will be weakened.
Land preservation benefits the entire community. Preserved land means money that would have been spent on governmental services – like roads and schools – can be spent in higher-density areas. It is tempting but short-sighted to spend that money on other things. We have a saying in the land preservation community; “When a developer loses out on a project, she can move on to find another one. But when land that should be preserved is instead developed, it’s lost forever.”
Please vote against HB1362.