If Rawlings-Blake wants to boost Baltimore, she should cut taxes, not subsidize developers

May 03, 2011

In her recent op-ed "What would Schaefer do?" Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake uses the passing of former mayor and governor William Donald Schaefer to plot out her election-year economic development plans for improving Baltimore City ("What would Schaefer do?" May 1.).

Like Mr. Schaefer and so many other politicians who mean well, Mayor Rawlings-Blake's intentions are good. But her plans will add to Maryland's sordid history of economic development efforts that only yielded higher costs for taxpayers. The mayor need only review the many failed "stimulus" projects littering the state to see that government has a lousy track record of creating real economic gains. Rocky Gap Lodge & Resort, the Hippodrome Theatre and the Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel are just some of the fiscal failures that taxpayers continue to subsidize, subtracting from economic growth rather than adding to it.

The mayor would better serve Baltimore by making the city a place where more people want to work and live. Toward that end, I recommend she read "How To Make Baltimore A Superstar City" by Loyola University Professor Stephen Walters and Baltimore schoolteacher Louis Miserendino. The paper can be found on my institute's website, http://www.mdpolicy.org.

Christopher B. Summers, Rockville

The writer is president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute and a native of Baltimore City.

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