Dozens of Baltimore Businesses Threaten Not to Pay Taxes Over Out-of-Control Crime

Dozens of Baltimore Businesses Threaten Not to Pay Taxes Over Out-of-Control Crime
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Defunding the police isn’t going so well in Baltimore. Last year, the city cut $22 million dollars of funding. After that caused crime to skyrocket, Baltimore reversed course and decided to raise police spending by $28 million dollars last month.

These changes aren’t coming soon enough for 37 businesses in the troubled Fells Point area that have publicly said that they don’t intend to pay their taxes until the city of Baltimore starts getting crime under control in their area.

The letter these business owners wrote to the city leadership was extraordinary. In it, they said they would be placing their taxes in escrow until their demands were met. What are their demands? The following, which are all basic functions of government that aren’t being carried out:

1) Pick up the trash

2) Enforce traffic and parking laws through tickets and towing

3) Stop illegal open-air alcohol and drug sales.

4) Empower police to responsibly do their job.

Here’s more from the letter.

But we have reached our breaking point. Our elected leaders have closed their eyes and ears and
turned their backs on our community for long enough. We are fed up and frustrated, and we now
realize that nothing will change unless we demand action.

So, to compel our leaders to do their job and to stand up for neighborhoods all across Baltimore, the
undersigned parties are prepared to withhold our city taxes and minor privilege and permit fees and
place those funds into an escrow account, which we will not release until and unless basic and essential
municipal services are restored.

…These demands are as simple as they are vital to our community’s future: Ask police to do their job,
stop illegal alcohol and drug sales on the streets, enforce basic traffic and parking laws, and pick up
the trash. Frankly, it is pathetic that we have to beg for these basics. But this is where we are.

Do you want to see videos of the kind of atmosphere that is driving these businesses to go this far?

Imagine trying to run a business with this kind of thing regularly going on, punctuated by shootings, while the police are prevented from getting it under control and the State’s Attorney is telling everyone that she won’t prosecute low-level crimes. These businesses putting taxes into escrow is a desperate act, but they’re being put in a desperate situation by the irresponsibility of the city leadership. Once law and order goes out the window, your quality of life is going to be following it soon after.

John Hawkins is the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know. You can find him on Parler here and on Twitter here.

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