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Opinion: “The Baltimore City tax sale system has long resulted in harm to its communities”

The Baltimore Banner announced Edmondson Community Organization filed a lawsuit against Baltimore City in the District Court for the District of Maryland challenging their tax sale system. The Baltimore City tax sale system has long resulted in harm to its communities by displacing low-income homeowners, enriching investors, and causing blight in once thriving communities. Tax sale disproportionately impacts Black communities, with the entire process resulting in an extraction of wealth from Baltimore’s Black communities.

The communities ravaged by tax sale are the same communities suffering from long-term housing discrimination where Black homeowners have had to overcome over-inflated purchase costs for often homes in disrepair, take out higher cost loans when traditional lending options were not available to them, and live in communities that experience disinvestment from governmental and financial entities. MVLS wholeheartedly supports this lawsuit and the Edmondson Community Organization. A historically Black, redlined, and disinvested community lost its most cherished community center in the name of $2,572. A center that provided job training, art programs, back to school gatherings, Holiday dinners, and toy drives was taken without just compensation.

Communities have rendered more than delinquent taxes to the city, they have lost homes, gathering places, equity, memories, and generational wealth. Baltimore City had its opportunity to commit to wholesale reform of tax sale. This lawsuit is for the community and homeowners that MVLS represents.