The Spark

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

The Baltimore sewer system spawns a crying crocodile

Apr 15, 2002

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley recently voted to raise sewer rates for residents of the area by 10% and water rates by 16%. These big increases come on top of five others in the last seven years. O’Malley says more increases will take place in the next few years, too.

O’Malley claims that these steep increases are not the city’s (that is “his”) fault. The increased rates are needed, he says, to pay for extensive repairs and improvements to sewers, many nearly 100 years old, and for increased security at water treatment plants.

O’Malley is complaining that while the federal and state governments are ordering these extensive repairs, they are refusing to pay any of the cost, forcing the city to foot the entire bill.

Of course – they are spending their tax revenues on subsidies to corporations.

But the same is true on a smaller scale for O’Malley and other local Baltimore area politicians. They have been providing tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and other subsidies to the developers of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Canton, Fells Point and other areas, as well as to General Motors, Bethlehem Steel and other big commercial and industrial corporations. This is where the money has been going over the years in Baltimore and other cities, instead of into better sewers, bridges, roads, mass transit, public housing, schools and recreation facilities that the working people, who have been paying most of the taxes, need for a decent life.

O’Malley’s tears about the financial priorities of other politicians are crocodile tears, even if they are from a little crocodile.