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Tax expert warns over ‘ripple effects’ of Baltimore bridge collapse: Economic damage ‘hard to comprehend’

Autoagent.com CEO Niko Spyridonos talked about the extensive negative effects that the city of Baltimore will be feeling following the shipping accident in Baltimore's harbor.

The impact of the Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster in Baltimore is "hard to comprehend" when it comes to the local economy and governments, according to one tax revenue expert and CEO. 

Autoagent.com CEO Niko Spyridonos, who works with municipal and county governments to streamline their tax revenue collection, told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the shipping accident will cause economic "ripple effects" that will harm thousands of business owners, affect the local government’s ability to function, and be felt in the rest of the country.

America’s seaports are a major driver of the U.S. economy. The port of Baltimore alone is the busiest in the U.S. for car shipments, handling more than 750,000 vehicles in 2023, according to data from the Maryland Port Administration. It is also the largest U.S. port by volume for handling farm and construction machinery, as well as agricultural products.

BALTIMORE BRIDGE COLLAPSES INTO HARBOR AFTER SHIP STRIKE, CAUSING MASS CASUALTY EVENT

The Autoagent.com CEO described how bad it is that one of the largest U.S. seaports came to a screeching halt following the bridge collapse. 

"It's hard to comprehend how this will impact things, not only for the city, but the state and the East of the United States, but possibly the rest of the country," he stressed. 

When asked to scale the seriousness of the accident in terms of cost, he replied, "I think it's quite high up there."

"That bridge completely cuts off all five terminals of the Port of Baltimore, and the Port of Baltimore being one of the largest in the country, the logistics of exports and imports coming into Baltimore or exports leaving Baltimore for the rest of the world, it’s going to be quite, quite difficult to replace," he explained.  

Spyridonos mentioned how redirecting ships that are supposed to be coming and going through the port "may take a few days to a few weeks" and then clearing the debris and fixing the damage to the bridge collapse itself will take months.

Where the tax revenue expert is particularly focused is how this disaster affects revenue going to Baltimore’s government and the surrounding county. 

According to Spyridonos, Autoagent.com streamlines roughly around $1 billion in property tax revenues each year. After speaking with Maryland customers, the CEO is worried about how this will impact the "summer collection." 

"Property taxes, they fund all the local agencies, municipalities, city services, essential services, police departments, school districts," he said, noting how in the state of Maryland, taxes are collected twice a year.

ECONOMIC IMPACT FROM BALTIMORE BRIDGE COLLAPSE WILL BE LONG-LASTING, TRADE GROUP WARNS 

Spyridonos pointed out how during other disasters, like COVID-19, the government took measures to push "tax collections even a few weeks or a month or two back." 

The CEO noted how the government could also try providing tax discounts or exemptions to the affected area, but ultimately stressed that this incident is going to be hard on many people. 

"A big port like that affects a big area of the local community and the rest of the state. It's almost like the city of Baltimore is wrapped around the port and its activities. Right? So, it's easy to understand that this will definitely be affecting many, many layers of, not only the local community, but also the government – the local governments."

Francesco Bianchi, a professor of economics and department chair at Johns Hopkins University agreed, telling FOX Business on Thursday that "the impact for the Baltimore economy is likely to be substantial."

"Baltimore is an important harbor and its inability to operate normally will push the overall supply chain a step closer to capacity, at a moment in which geopolitical risk already creates issues," he added.

FreedomWorks Senior Economic Contributor Steve Moore also told FOX Business that the economic effects may be felt by the average American consumer. 

"People will feel a pinch in terms of their grocery bills, in their gas prices and things of that nature as a result of this bridge collapse," he said. "The longer it goes on, the longer it takes to rebuild it, the worse the impact will be." 

Fox Business' Greg Norman, Daniella Genovese and Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report. 

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