This story was updated at 9:05 a.m., March 21, 2023, to include more information from county officials, and from the state’s Department of Legislative Services.
County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposal to raise the property tax rate 10 cents—or roughly 10%, compared with the current rate—would eclipse some jurisdictions across the Washington, D.C., region, but remain below others if passed by the County Council by late May.
In order to compare property tax rates across different governments, MoCo360 used the real property tax rate. Broadly speaking, that term means the taxes apply to land and the buildings constructed on them.
Compared with the current budget, which the County Council passed in May, the property tax rate would increase to roughly $1.08 per $100 of assessed value. That is the average rate—property taxes for residents can vary based on multiple factors such as which municipality they live in. For the current fiscal year, the property tax rates in Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park are about $1.10, $1.11, and $1.14 (all per $100 of assessed value), respectively.
Some areas are higher, like in Friendship Heights on the Maryland-D.C. border, at $1.62 per $100 of assessed value, and Chevy Chase Village, at $1.29 per $100 of assessed value. That is according to the county’s current chart for real property tax rates, which includes the municipal district tax, special service area tax, and others.
After the publication of this story, county officials said that a more accurate comparison of property tax rates would come from the state’s Department of Legislative Services, a nonpartisan, professional staff agency that serves the Maryland General Assembly and also serves as a resource for localities across the state.
Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno called the annual report by the department is the “gold standard” when it comes to comparing property tax rates across Maryland. The chart is below.
Other counties throughout Maryland are at varying stages of their budget process. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks recently introduced her budget, which doesn’t increase real property taxes. It currently stands at $1 per $100 of assessed value, slightly above Montgomery County’s rate of 98 cents per $100 of assessed value.
There are various classes of real property taxes in Prince George’s, however, depending on where in the county residents live. Including state property taxes, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission taxes, stormwater taxes and other charges, residents can pay anywhere from 11 cents to $1.49 per $100 of assessed value.
Other jurisdictions in Maryland have not yet introduced their operating budgets. Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater will introduce hers by April 15. Currently, the real property tax there is $1.06 per $100 of assessed value. In Anne Arundel County, County Executive Steuart Pittman will introduce his budget by May 1. Real property taxes there currently are $1.05 per $100 of assessed value.
County officials have noted Howard County’s property tax rates when defending the proposed tax increase. That county’s tax rate is about $1.01 per $100 of assessed value, but counting state taxes and the fire tax—which are included in Montgomery County’s calculation, where the county tax alone is about 69 cents—the total real property tax rate is about $1.36. Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will introduce his budget sometime in April.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski will also introduce his budget sometime in April. The real property tax rate there is $1.10 per $100 of assessed value.
MoCo360 looked at proposed real property tax rates for three large jurisdictions in northern Virginia: Arlington County, Alexandria and Fairfax County.
Arlington County’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, led by County Manager Mark Schwartz, proposes a real property tax of about $1.01 per $100 of assessed value. In Alexandria, the proposed budget—led by James Parajon, the city manager—sets the real property tax rate at about $1.11 per $100 of assessed value. In Fairfax County, this year’s proposed budget, prepared and led by County Executive Bryan Hill, the real property tax rate is the same as Alexandria’s.
In Washington, D.C., the real property tax rate is different depending on if property is residential or commercial. The rate is currently 85 cents per $100 of assessed value for all residential properties, and starts at $1.65 per $100 of assessed value for commercial value. The latter rate increases depending on the value of the property.
County Councilmembers will deliberate between now and the end of May on whether to approve Elrich’s budget, including the proposed tax hike. Elrich said in an interview last week that he didn’t know if the council would agree on the 10-cent increase, but believes many county officials are acknowledging the needs in staffing for public schools.
The council rejected Elrich’s last attempt at a real property tax increase of roughly 5 cents, 3.18 of which would have gone toward public schools, in 2020. Multiple councilmembers said at the time that raising taxes during the coronavirus pandemic was a non-starter.
“No one should be under the illusion that there should be increased taxes in the county,” former County Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-Dist. 5) said in April 2020. “There’s a lot of people who are hurting, and a property tax increase would be exactly the wrong message right now.”