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Maryland Is Home Sweet Home for Congressmen Seeking Tax Break

Posted Mar 19, 2009 12:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A senior member of Congress who was elected in California has reportedly saved $3,853 in 2007 and 2008 taxes by claiming a home in Maryland as his principal residence. And he's apparently not the only federal lawmaker from another state who has been doing so.

Rep. Pete Stark, 77, the second-ranking Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, is registered to vote in California, using the address of his wife's parents, and has a California driver's license, reports Bloomberg. However, he claims a waterfront house in Maryland, where he says he spends about two-thirds of the year, as his main home.

“Insofar as I know, I’m obeying the law,” Stark tells the news agency. The Maryland house is the only home he owns, he notes.

However, another federal lawmaker, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) was declared ineligible for such a Maryland tax credit. And the state says it is looking into similar tax claims by other members of Congress, the news agency reports.

“I have always abided by whatever determination the Montgomery County Assessment Office makes,” says Engel said in an e-mailed statement. "I have never asked for any special privileges for being a congressman.”

A spokesman for the state says Maryland has been recently checking the eligibility of all homeowners for the tax break, but doesn't intend to seek refunds concerning past years for those now determined to be ineligible.

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