The Spark

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

Money Out, But Where Is Money In?

Aug 6, 2018

Tradepoint Atlantic, developer of the old Sparrows Point property, wants 150 million dollars from Baltimore County taxpayers. It is asking officials for a TIF, which stands for tax increment financing, a tax deal by which the company gets money from the county to pay for roads and water and sewer upgrades, and pays the money back over 30 years as it collects rent from the tenants.

Tradepoint and its tenant Amazon already got deals, that is, tax money, from Baltimore County when they arrived to do business on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel mills. Tradepoint Atlantic got 20 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Transportation to use on upgrading the port at Sparrows Point. And Amazon got two million dollars as an incentive from the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority, along with $200,000 from Baltimore County.

Does a TIF benefit the people of Baltimore County, or just the companies demanding a handout? TIFs have been used in other counties and in Baltimore City. When the city council asked for information on how well the city was doing after providing the TIFs, there was no information available. If TIFs were helping fund communities so well, the politicians would be bragging about the facts.

The two candidates for county executive think it’s a great idea. It is, but only for Tradepoint and other companies like it.