Gov. Martin O’Malley last week signed a bill into law that would provide tax relief for Maryland homeowners.

The bill, which was sponsored Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Dist. 23), will provide $18 million in tax relief to county homeowners. Peters said residents made it clear something needed to be done to protect them from skyrocketing property taxes. “From speaking to residents, the biggest issue when I go door to door is ‘My market values dropped in my house, my assessment has either stayed the same or gone up and my taxes have gone up,’” Peters said. “So we needed to lower taxes seeing how market values have gone down.”

O’Malley said he knows the budget constraints of Prince George’s County and didn’t take the decision to sign the bill lightly. However, he realized the citizens of the county would be best served by receiving some measure of relief. “The bill provides some property tax relief to the people of Prince George’s County during this recession,” said Shaun Adamec, O’Malley spokesman.  “The governor certainly weighed what he knew would present additional revenue write-downs for the county, and is confident that the county will make the tough decisions necessary to bring the budget into balance, as they always have.”

The bill will place a cap on the funding the county gives to the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (MNCPPC), a bi-county partnership with Montgomery County. Montgomery already has a cap put in place to provide relief to its residents; this legislation will provide Prince George’s residents with the same advantage. “If a person with a home in Montgomery County got an assessment at the same rate as a home in Prince George’s County, the owner of Prince George’s home was paying $1,200 more than the owner of the Montgomery homes,” Peters said. “This was the case even with the higher taxes on Montgomery County homes.”

Peters says Prince George’s homeowner’s should see a tax credit on their statements beginning this July.