Our property tax rate is poisoning the city. At more than twice Baltimore County’s rate and two and half times DC’s rate, high property taxes are fueling a new wave of vacants, crime, disinvestment and flight among families. And residents are fed up that the taxes they pay don’t result in quality city services. Meanwhile, it takes a decade to assemble financing for relatively small investments in the neediest neighborhoods. To make capital more available, especially in the lowest income neighborhoods, the opportunity for investment must be more valuable.
Lowering the murder rate is the number one emergency for every public official. Responding to this emergency demands a strong partnership between the state and city that advances only strategies that have been proven to reduce homicide.
The precautions necessary because of the COVID-19 crisis are destabilizing the participation of women in the workforce and the financial stability of working families for many years to come. We need permanent changes to help bring prosperity to every family and to grow the productivity of Maryland’s economy. These changes must include slashed property taxes; a simpler, more beneficial earned income tax credit; universal pre-K starting at age 3; paid family leave (supporting small businesses in paying for it); and an increased minimum wage that is pegged to inflation.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the American people to victory on equal voting rights. He died, however, still fighting for economic equality. In Baltimore, we need an organized and coherent focus on improving the economic wellbeing and quality of life in black and brown neighborhoods. We need a comprehensive set of policies designed to build local wealth, diversify the economy, create jobs, and build the tax base in those neighborhoods, for the benefit of the black and brown families who live there, especially those making less than 40% of the area median income.
It is time to end unexcused absences for all children—especially for our youngest learners. Intervene early, immediately with family supports and services once an elementary school aged child has missed five days of school—cumulative, not consecutive days. Use age-appropriate lessons at every grade level to teach students to reduce stress, successfully manage challenges, cope with complicated relationships, and deal with grief. Let’s ensure every child learns in a humane facility. It’s time to establish a state-of-the-art regional career and technical education high school. And above all, fund the Kirwan Plan, including with the sale of real estate assets from municipal portfolios, if need be.
When people are healthy, economies grow. Pure and simple. Small businesses can better manage health insurance costs, sharing more profits with workers. Families are less stressed and can spend money on other needs. And people can live longer, happier lives. With the only all-payer system in the nation and an uninsured rate that is just shy of 7%, Maryland is almost there. We can do better for everyone and our economy if we go all the way. For Maryland, I support a single-payer system and maximums on drug costs.
Law enforcement must be by consent, not by force. I believe that law enforcement activities must be thoughtfully rebuilt from the ground up. In the United States, and in Baltimore particularly, policing has been by force. In black and brown communities, it also has been by military force. Nonviolence must be our foundation…on the streets and among the police.
Affordable and convenient transit is crucial for the long-term vitality of any economy. Restore the redline. In the interim, let’s make it convenient for people to conduct essential transactions. Provide free circulator buses to grocery stores from every food desert neighborhood. Provide zero-cost capital for build-out and zero-cost leases for up to ten years for essential amenities locating in distressed neighborhoods (grocery stores, traditional banks, laundromats and dry cleaners, for example).
Our campaign believes that the cornerstones of good governance are integrity, public trust, transparency, and accountability. I am 100% committed to keeping our campaign above reproach. This means my team and I will exercise integrity in every decision and earn your trust through our actions. We will be transparent, holding ourselves accountable to you the voter and to the laws and regulations of the land.
I believe that every human being should feel safe and welcomed in Baltimore City and the State of Maryland. As your Delegate, I will proactively seek the advice and ideas of the LGBTQIA+ community in shaping policy at every level. Until every person—especially our young—is free from discrimination, there is much hard work to do. I am with you.
We don’t want Baltimore’s beauty hidden under the wrong narratives. We can end trash in our streets by hiring more people to pick it up. Careers in environmental conservation are our future. And yet, Baltimore City was shamed into paying its sanitation engineers a living wage during the pandemic. Moreover, unemployment in some Baltimore neighborhoods is in excess of 20%. As your delegate, I would work to establish or expand a Conservation Corps for Baltimore. There is a Maryland Conservation Corps. But its impact is not yet felt on the neighborhood streets and alleys of Baltimore City.
Anywhere I’ve been in life, God has placed older adults around me as my dearest friends and confidants, as mentors, and as people to serve. Our attention and duty to this wonderful population, full of wisdom and grace, should be ever vigilant and ever engaging. There is a dire need for better funding, stronger leadership and more inclusive services for older adults.
My experience with small businesses runs deep. There are so many things we can do to support this community depending on the industry and the challenge we determine to solve. As a start, let’s keep a state version of the payroll protection program as part of a permanent safety net infrastructure for small businesses. Let’s build the capacity of Neighborhood Business Works to offer small loans without requiring collateral and to offer grants for build-out for essential businesses in low-income communities. We should also increase public funding to expand programming that teaches contractors from various industries how to estimate costs and prepare and present bids.
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