In his column "Risk to city outweighs benefits of living wage" (July 25) Jay Hancock perpetuates the myth that wage rates are the dominant factor influencing decisions of where large business will locate within the greater Baltimore regional marketplace. As a general rule, nothing could be further from the truth.
In making location decisions, transportation access and the availability of a skilled workforce are very important to the success of a manufacturing concern; transportation and proximity to customers to a warehousing operation; and the existence of underserved demand and public access are crucial to retail sales outlets.
Baltimore's assets are its well developed transportation infrastructure, its growing social networking technology, biotechnology and health care industries, and its changing workforce. From information presented at Baltimore City Data Day 2010 last Friday, pent-up demand for grocery and other merchandise is sufficient to sustain robust retail sales within the city.
These assets are what attracted Walmart, Whole Foods and others to Baltimore, not the lack of a living-wage. The real loss of the lack of a living wage to the city is lost tax revenue, lack of a pathway for lower income citizens to enter the middle class and increasing public costs associated with the failure of trickle-down economics.
I believe Baltimore's future rests in building on our assets, developing our strong and diverse work force and letting trickle-up economics work by ensuring its citizens receive a fair day's wage for a fair day's labor.
Howard Aylesworth, Baltimore