Rawlings-Blake Wants to Offer Tax Credits to Build Grocery Stores in Food Deserts

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srburalAbout a¬†quarter of Baltimore residents live in a “food desert.” To encourage grocers to move into new areas, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wants to offer tax breaks to supermarkets.

The mayor plans to file legislation with the City Council that would allow grocery stores to forego 80 percent of their property taxes on markets built within a quarter mile of a food desert, the Baltimore Sun reports. The bill would need to be approved by the Council before becoming law.

When considering food deserts, corner stores and restaurants are not enough to provide an oasis. According to the mayor’s office, a food desert is described as an area where the distance to a supermarket is more than 1/4 mile, the median household income is at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, over 30% of households have no vehicle available. And having healthy food is just as important, as a store’s score on available healthy food is also measured.

Red areas are food deserts.
Red areas are food deserts.

Research from Johns Hopkins determined that African Americans are disproportionately affected, with 34 percent living in a food desert compared to 8 percent white residents.

There’s more data and maps at this website.



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