Oct 10, 2005
In September, the Baltimore City Council voted to pass the mayor's proposal to build a 305-million-dollar Hilton hotel downtown. The hotel is to be financed entirely by city bonds.
Bonds may sound like a way for taxpayers not to pay. But that's not true. The actual investors in bonds may be wealthy, but the bonds have to be repaid – and so does the interest. And that's all paid from the city's budget. Last year, Baltimore City's budget paid 68 million dollars for repayment of interest on bonds and loans issued in the past. That means money not going to meet the population's needs.
Every Baltimore resident pays a big cost, because the sewers have overflowed, health care for the uninsured has been cut back, children go to 75-year old schools with broken windows, doors and heating systems, rec centers have closed, and parks and recreation workers have been laid off.
If hotel and other development deals were so profitable, the politicians would surely brag about them, especially at election time. Instead, as one council member opposed to this hotel deal put it, "If it [financing hotels] is too risky for a private investor, why in the world are we going to do it?"So why are the politicians turning our money over to the 100-billion dollar a year hotel industry, which showed a 15% profit last year?