Put your money where your mouth is: the ultimate Harbor Point roundup

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Enough is enough. It’s time to put our money where our mouths are and put down signatures to abstain support for those elected officials propping up the worst deal for Baltimore going, in one Harbor Point. View the petition right now, or read on for more.

We’ve talked and talked and talked about Harbor Point at length on the podcast and now we’re giving you the chance to DO SOMETHING. Sign the petition. Raise your hand. Tell city officials that we don’t believe massive tax breaks for the rich will eventually trickle down to the poor. We’ve given them enough already and they’re still asking for far, far too much.

This is just the first step. But before city officials pay attention to anything we have to say, they need to know you’re listening. They need to know that you, that rare active and informed Baltimore City voter, won’t stand for this anymore. Sign the petition and give us the first weapon we need to fight back.

People with no ideas of their own say petitions are a waste of time. This is nonsense. Support among the City Council is wavering by the day. By pledging to to renounce any official who votes for this TIF you’re sending a powerful message to the city; we aren’t going to let you get away with this anymore, and there will be repercussions.

In the interest of being dispassionate, let the numbers speak for themselves, as provided by DennisTheCynic:

Harbor Point by the numbers: A primer for August 7th

As Baltimore moves towards the next Harbor Point hearing there is a lot of information circulating from proponents and opponents of the project. In the interest of saving everyone time I wanted to create a central page where raw facts can be seen. Please feel free to review and share as needed.

The site:
$10,000,000 – The current value of the Harbor Point site
$1,800,000,000 – Estimated value of the site if the project is completed

Job Benefits:
7,175 – Number of (temporary) construction jobs that are estimated to come to the site because of the project
6,611 – Estimated number of permanent jobs that will come to the site
2,547 – Estimated number of indirect jobs that will come as a result of the project being approved

Tax Benefits:
$19,623,928 – average annual tax revenue that Harbor point is expected to provide once completed (for the next 30 years).

For the sake of comparison…

$3,576,500,000 –  Baltimore’s complete FY 2014 budget, including the operating and capital budget
0.548% – Percentage of Baltimore’s 2014 budget that Harbor Point’s average tax revenue would be equal to
$30,000,000 – The 2014 Fiscal Year budget shortfall that was closed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake

Tax Credits:
$88,000,000 – The amount of enterprise zone tax credits given to the site. These tax credits are typically reserved for communities that are in need for development.
9/11/2012 – The day that the Baltimore City Council voted to give the enterprise zone tax credit to Harbor Point. The site was not in the original drawing of the map but was adjusted after the Baltimore Development Corporation requested the change.
2 – The number of Baltimore City Council members who voted against the map change (Nick Mosby [7th] and Carl Stokes [12th])
$24,000,000 – The amount of brownfield tax credits that will go to the site, which is awarded to assist contaminated sites in development (Harbor Point will be located at the former Allied Signal Chromium plant site)
$44,191,8602 – The amount of tax reimbursements that Baltimore will receive from the State of Maryland as a result of the Enterprise Zone tax credit.

The TIF (Tax Increment Financing) proposed:
$59,131,248 – the amount that the proposed TIF would allocate towards a series of parks to be built towards the site. Advocates argue that the amount is needed due to the environmental sensitivity of the site.
$21,634,628 – Amount allocated towards building a new promenade for the site
$13,317,399 – Amount allocated towards utilities for the site, which will include roads and sidewalks
$10,400,000 – Amount allocated towards a new bridge that will extend from south central avenue to the site
$2,000,000 – Amount allocated to expansions of the Crossroads Academy, a local charter school. Portions of the expansion will be on the Harbor Point site
$448,001 – Amount allocated for a new Water Taxi stop and piers at the site
$106,900,000 – Total amount of the TIF

2025 – the year that Harbor Point will actually begin to pay taxes to the general fund. Until that point the site’s funding would be used to pay the debt accumulated for the site. It should be noted that the annual revenue owed will be reduced due to the tax credits awarded

Developer benefit:

$124,000,000 – the amount that developers for the project (led by Michael Beatty) will receive for the project without the $106.9 Million TIF
$174,000,000 – The profit that developers for the project will receive for the project should the $106.9 Million TIF be passed

2.138/1 – Ratio of public dollars allocated to the project to profits received by Harbor Point Developers.


Developer threat:
6/6/2013 – The day Michael Beatty threatened that Exelon – a confirmed tenant at the Harbor Point property – may keep their operations in Chicago if the TIF is not approved
Zero – Chance that Exelon may indeed stay in Chicago, as the company committed to building a regional headquarters in Baltimore in an agreement reached with Maryland’s Public Service Commission

Other funding: 

$27,000,000 – the amount of federal and city funds that have currently been authorized to work on South Central avenue in addition to what has already been allocated.

The Parks:
$59,000,000 – As previously mentioned the amount allocated towards the parks that would be built on the site.
9.5 – the number of acres that the TIF revenue will be used to build parks on
$6,200,000 – The amount per acre that will be spent on the site.
$6,210,526 per acre.

By comparison:
$5,800,000 – the 2014 budget for the maintenance of Baltimore’s current entire park system
7,000 – the approximate number of acres of the entire Baltimore City park system.
$828 per acre. And dwindling every year.

Taking it one step further:
$36,208,265 – The recommended entire budget for the Department of Parks and Recreation for Fiscal Year 2014.

$106,900,000 – the principal of the TIF
$174,000,000 – the additional costs of the debt that will be accumulated by the TIF. To pay for the costs, property tax revenue from the site will be earmarked to pay the debt.
$200,000,000 – the amount of education funding that the city would lose if Harbor Point were approved, according to Ronald Kreitner. Because the site would add new property value to the city the formula for state aid would reduce the mount of assistance received by Baltimore’s School System.
$480,900,000 – Total cost to the citizens of Baltimore.

2007 – the year the Baltimore City Council passed the Inclusionary Housing act. The law required public financed projects that will have at least 30 units of housing to reserve 20 percent of the locations as low cost units.
2010 – the year that this same act was renewed by the City Council.
914 – the projected number of apartment units that are currently expected to be built on the Harbor Point site
0 – the amount of low cost units that harbor point will be required to build since it will receive public assistance.
0 – the percentage of low cost units that Harbor Point will provide

5/20/2013 – the day that media was barred from a meeting pertaining to the Harbor Point Project
2 – Number of entities that filed complaints before the state’s Open Meetings Compliance Board (The Baltimore Sun and Fox 45)
1 – violations that were noted as a result of the complaints
0 – amount of fees that the city will need to pay because of the violation (possible $100 violation for a first offense)

What’s next:
15 – number of Baltimore City Council members that will decide the fate of the TIF (and by extension, this project) in the weeks to come. You can contact them using this page: http://baltimorecitycouncil.com/members.htm
202 (and climbing) – number of people who have signed a petition opposing Harbor Point and pledging to not vote for anyone who supports this project. If you agree, please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/petitions/baltimore-city-we-cannot-support-the-proposed-tif-for-harbor-point
4/28/2013 – The day Paul Gardner posted “The Value of Free Money and the Shame of Harbor Point,” a good write up about events that led to the August 7th vote. Check it out.


2 thoughts on “Put your money where your mouth is: the ultimate Harbor Point roundup

  1. The Baltimore Sun published a news article charging certain officials of the Baltimore government with holding at least one private meeting concerning this proposal. Assuming you are a Baltimore taxpayer, do you plan to file a complaint with the Maryland attorney general, who has jurisdiction over violations of Maryland’s open meetings law?

  2. One thing that doesn’t come up here is the stress on traffic during construction and afterwards. 6k permanent employees will mean almost as many cars in and out of that region on a daily basis. I worry about the ill effects on the Fells and Canton communities which are already fully saturated in terms of parking.

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