Baltimore has many strengths, but faces a bleak future without a concerted effort to drive inclusive growth. Long term population losses, coupled with persistent poverty, threaten our ability to do the things we need to do to make our city thrive and give everyone in Baltimore a chance to succeed.
Among the nation’s 50 largest cities, Baltimore ranks near the bottom in terms of the ability to offer those living in poverty a path to a secure life. Disinvestment in neighborhoods across the city reflects a history of redlining that reinforced segregation and shut down opportunities for too many of our citizens.
Mobility from poverty has many dimensions that include family stability, affordable housing, access to health services, quality pre-school through college education, racially balanced neighborhoods, good transportation, and public safety. But a very significant driver is financial security that provides choices and agency to citizens who are leading precarious lives. That requires policies focusing on work and giving people meaningful access to good jobs.
Baltimore is an outlier in many respects beyond our crime statistics. Over the last decade of a national economic expansion, the city has participated weakly. Job growth for city residents was only a quarter of the average for the 50 largest cities. And the number of small business establishments in the city remained flat over the past decade. Perhaps most worrisome is the low employment rate of residents aged 16-24, who should be gaining skills and work experience, not sitting out.
Leadership in Baltimore means making economic opportunities available to all of our citizens and changing the trends that are holding this city back from its full potential.
As Mayor, I would create inclusive growth by….
- Creating a deputy mayor for economic development
- Conducting a comprehensive review of our tax structure
- Developing and funding an inclusive workforce plan
- Creating a more robust small business resource center
- Increasing homeownership
- Supporting initiatives for local sourcing of contracts
- Leveraging public resources to attract more private investment
- Tracking more closely the outcome of our economic investment dollars