There is much lamentation in the counties over the fiscal state of the city. Yet while the rhetoric of regionalism now has become politically correct, hardly anyone is willing to take the tough step -- to pitch in for some of the attractions that are enjoyed by people of the entire metropolitan area but happen, coincidentally, to be located in Baltimore city.
The National Aquarium is a case in point. It recently increased admission prices to a hefty $11.50 for adults and $6.75 for children. The reason? Increased operating costs.
Yet while the costs of running the aquarium have skyrocketed, support has waned. Baltimore County, for example, kept constant its contribution for the fiscal year beginning July 1 (a decrease in real dollars). And this was the best performance. Anne Arundel Executive Bob Neall recommended a 50 percent cut in money for the aquarium -- from $50,000 to $25,000, and the council approved it. Howard County cut its grant to a paltry $12,600 -- from a not very impressive $15,000 this year.