State Del. Howard P. Rawlings said Baltimore will present Gov. Parris N. Glendening with a "significant and comprehensive" request for state financial help next week, including up to $48 million to improve city schools.
Rawlings, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, released details of the proposal last night to the Baltimore Homeowners Coalition. Among the items on the city's wish list, according to Rawlings, are:
Up to $25 million to upgrade city schools for computer Internet access. The schools will also request $3 million to expand pre-kindergarten programs and about $20 million for general school repairs and renovations.
$25 million for drug treatment. The city will push current treatment facilities to open evenings and Saturdays to accommodate working addicts, Rawlings said.
"But I will assure you," he added, "when the money comes through the Appropriations Committee, we will be asking questions about accountability."
$10 million for a Main Street program. Mayor Martin O'Malley was impressed with the Boston program that provides money for face lifts for small businesses. O'Malley also wants $3 million in state funds to create a revolving loan fund for small businesses.
The mayor also will ask the state to remove a restriction requiring a referendum to approve Tax Increment Financing for businesses. O'Malley considers the tool better than the city's payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) program, which gives tax breaks for 20 years.
Under Tax Increment Financing, developers would begin paying taxes as soon as their bank loans are paid off, O'Malley said yesterday.
The measure has helped cities from Chicago to Philadelphia spur development, Rawlings said.
Maryland legislators will meet soon to discuss how they will deal with a $619 million budget surplus.
Rawlings urged O'Malley to pare his wish list but said he isn't sure the eager mayor will listen.