The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Baltimore:
Tax Breaks despite Protests

Aug 22, 2016

Hundreds of mostly working class people have been showing up at Baltimore City Council hearings about the proposed 660 million dollar city tax break (TIF) that Under Armour wants for its huge Port Covington development project. Most of the people came to demand that this record-breaking TIF be rejected unless Under Armour signs a legally binding community benefits agreement.

Most of those at the hearings want guarantees that at least 51 percent of the 26,500 permanent jobs, and thousands more temporary construction jobs that Under Armour says will be created, will go to Baltimore residents. And they want all these jobs to pay decent wages. They also want profit-sharing, more affordable housing included in the project, an independent financial analysis of the TIF, no reductions in state school funding because of the TIF, and guarantees that a significant portion of the contracted work will go to minority and female-owned businesses.

This would be by far the biggest TIF the city ever agreed to, and one of the biggest ever in the whole country. In addition to this record-breaking TIF from the city, Under Armour wants even more tax breaks and subsidies from the state and federal governments to subsidize its plan for a new company headquarters building surrounded by other business offices, commercial stores, 14,000 up-scale housing units, parks, and even an internal light rail circulator line.

Despite community protests, the mayor, the majority of the city council, and of course business groups, have all signed on to the big breaks for Under Armour.

So much for democracy when profit is involved!