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Welfare for the Wealthy: In MD, golf courses are taxed as 'agricultural' land. Really!

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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 10:15 AM
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Welfare for the Wealthy: In MD, golf courses are taxed as 'agricultural' land. Really!
Columbia Country Club in Bethesda paid $34,000 in property taxes last year.

Membership costs $50,000 with $10,000 annual dues.

So, their property tax costs less than the price of one membership.

What a deal!

The National 4-H Council is right down Connecticut Avenue from the Columbia Country Club. Its 12.28-acre commercial property has a land assessment of $9,628,500 or $784,079.80 per acre.

If we applied the same per-acre assessment value to the Columbia Country Club, its 44.01-acre land parcel would be assessed at $34,507,352. Its total property value including its $7,129,800 in improvements would be $41,593,152. At its current state property tax rate of 0.112 and its current county property tax rate of 0.916, the club would be paying $427,577.60 in property taxes about six times its current amount. So the Columbia Country Clubs agreement with SDAT (which may not even be allowed by state law) is cutting 83% off its property tax bill. And the clubs agreement enables it to realize those savings as long as it does not sell its land for subdivision.

This law is both extremely expensive and totally unnecessary. All county governments have zoning and subdivision rules that limit development. For example, the Columbia Country Clubs current zoning is R-90 (single-family housing with minimum 9,000-SF lots). If the club did sell its land, under current zoning a developer would only be allowed to build 150 or so homes there. The county could hinder development there even more by installing even less-dense zoning. The point is that other land use management tools can be used to preserve open space which is not truly open when it lies behind country club gates without giving away millions of dollars to the super-rich.

The state government will be rapidly cutting health care, education and services to the poor. If that is indeed necessary, then the Great Country Club Tax Break must also be repealed.
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madinmaryland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-10 05:42 PM
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1. That really pisses me off, Captain.
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Scalian Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-17-10 08:32 AM
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2. Golf courses as farm land
I think it is and environmental thing. As artificial as golf courses are they are still open land. It is better that developing the land for housing.
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