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Open Thread: Share Your Thoughts on Baltimore’s Looming Fiscal Crisis

Share with Patch how you think the city should address the shortfalls predicted in its 10-year fiscal forecast.

Earlier this week Baltimore released its first 10-year fiscal forecast, and its predictions were not good.

According to the outlook, during the next decade the city is facing a combined $745 million operating budget deficit, a $1.1 billion general fund infrastructure deficit and $3 billion in unfunded retiree liabilities between fiscal years 2013 and 2022. 

"In the coming days and weeks, starting with the State of the City Address on Monday, I plan to propose a bold set of major reforms to address the fiscal challenges outlined in the 10-year forecast. The reforms will focus on eliminating the deficit, making modern investments, and changing the city’s tax structure to make Baltimore more competitive for growth," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a Monday news conference, according to her prepared remarks.

What Are Your Thoughts on Baltimore’s Looming Fiscal Crisis? Share your thoughts and solutions on how to address this issue in the comments section.

Daniel Ewald February 08, 2013 at 04:41 PM
I don't know how to solve these fiscal problems. But I can suggest a way to test various solutions without harming the city; make a replica of Baltimore in SimCity. The video game simulation can then be tried multiple times to try out a wide range of proposals. Also: -No need to try out policies in the real world just yet. See if they make sense on the simulation a few times. -A good policy may have unintended consequences which could show up in the simulation. Better there then in real life. -The game forces you to balance a budget, or at least not be in debt for too long -Anyone could download the city and try their own solutions. -If enough people engaged in it and submitted their results, the data collected could also lead to productive policy
Baltimore Matt February 08, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Here are my solutions 1) the mayor needs to stop talking like Baltimore is in a state of constant fiscal crisis...this will only make people not willing to invest private money since they are scared that Baltimore will turn out to be a tax trap when times get hard (no one invests in a sinking ship), 2) put public employees on a defined pension plan, like a 401k...this means that we can at least stop the bleeding with the pension obligations and we can start to pay as we go for pensions 3) the real problem is getting people who have income and for-profit businesses to Baltimore, therefore we need a real overhaul of social welfare programs that makes Baltimore less attractive to those who don't pay taxes and at the same time reduce business taxes (I would completely remove the property tax bill for job creating businesses...look how many jobs Hopkins has been able to create due to not paying taxes)
Sean Tully February 09, 2013 at 03:51 PM
In reality the only real solution is to dissolve Baltimore City, Inc. Break it up. Make from North Ave north part of Baltimore Co. and from North Ave south part of Anne Arundel Co. Of course the counties wouldn't think of taking on that burden so the next best solution is to make all the metro areas into one service area for fire, police, schools, trash collection, etc. The same way the state police are set up. One agency covering many jurisdictions. But the counties would balk at that too. I know none of this will happen so I am afraid I see no good future for Baltimore City.
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT February 10, 2013 at 02:51 PM
The Mayor can not fight Demographics. It is the wave or snowball that simply cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, the city is at a point of no return. Folks with money will come to the city for the Orioles and Ravens, the car shows and boat shows, but that is about it. Unfortunately, the "news" of the city is not about revitalization, but of shootings and stabbings. The suckers who purchased homes in Federal Hill and Fells Point and Canton before they had kids are now stuck - paying double the real estate taxes and astronomical insurance costs. "Strategic" defaults now in order. The opening story on the local networks are always "4 People dead in fatal shootings in East, West, or South Baltimore." Unfortunately, this will not change. I could be wrong, but I did notice some of the luxury model car dealers are not at the Convention Center for the auto show. I wonder why that is? Good luck to the Mayor, she needs it.
Baltimore Matt February 10, 2013 at 04:26 PM
This city can't do much with a 25% poverty rate compared to less than 10% in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties. What makes this worse is that the counties have actively and knowingly moved their poor to the city, basically to set up a poverty concentration camp for Central MD. In the 80's and 90's the departments of social services in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties actively recommended poor people who were looking for housing, financial, and food assistance move to the city. My mother was told in the early 90's in Baltimore County that there was a 6 year waiting list for subsidized housing in Baltimore County but if she would file under a city address, that wait would by only a year. What I would do as mayor is buy apartment buildings and developable land in the county and start moving people out of subsidized housing in the city to the county. If you are not working, why do you need to be in a port city anyway? I would also reduce benefits for the non-working poor in Baltimore in order to drive them out. I would make it a goal to bring the poverty rate down to 12-15%. Another thing that needs to be done is to give Baltimore a real edge in attracting employers. I would start by reducing the corporate, personal property, and business property taxes to 0%. It has worked for Hopkins and the church and will bring large for-profit companies that will create jobs and attract gainfully employed people to this city. We attract 50,000 new jobs we'll add 10K new residents.
TVGigi February 11, 2013 at 03:44 PM
My property taxes better not increase again!
Rodney C Burris February 11, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Hello All! (pardon typos, bit of a rush! Heading out to go pickup my kid, so I need to make this brief.) In short, the city needs to cut spending (sorta like going from the $8 hotdogs to the $4 hotdogs, that we families do all the time.--There are clear ways to trim how much we expend on the items we consume, as a city.) Secondly, the city needs to increase it's taxpayer base --ie, Population. --- This is done by retaining a percentage of the ~200K college students that cycle through Greater Baltimore every year. We need nightlife, housing and jobs. --There are roughly 20K tech industry jobs in this area. --30K Boarded up homes, and --Tons of space to build new hubs, around the city. We can start here. Email me for more! #Good2Bmore! -RCB
Rodney C Burris February 11, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Hello All! (pardon typos, bit of a rush! Heading out to go pickup my kid, so I need to make this brief.) In short, the city needs to cut spending (sorta like going from the $8 hotdogs to the $4 hotdogs, that we families do all the time.--There are clear ways to trim how much we expend on the items we consume, as a city.) Secondly, the city needs to increase it's taxpayer base --ie, Population. --- This is done by retaining a percentage of the ~200K college students that cycle through Greater Baltimore every year. We need nightlife, housing and jobs. --There are roughly 20K tech industry jobs in this area. --30K Boarded up homes, and --Tons of space to build new hubs, around the city. We can start here. Email me for more! #Good2Bmore! -RCB State Representative 43rd District, Central Committee www.RodneyBurris.com

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