Read here from the WSJ, one man’s story of how hard it is to live in Baltimore. Jay Steinmetz is CEO of a Baltimore-based supply chain management company located 150 yards from the liquor store that was looted during last Monday’s rioting. Mr. Steinmetz, explains some of the challenges and failures he is forced to face on an ongoing basis:
City policies and procedures fail to help employers address these problems—and make them worse. When the building alarm goes off, the police charge us a fee. If the graffiti isn’t removed in a certain amount of time, we are fined. This penalize-first approach is of a piece with Baltimore’s legendary tax and regulatory burden. The real cost of these ill-conceived policies is to the community where we—and other local businesses in similar positions—might be able to hire more of those Baltimoreans who have lost hope of escaping poverty and government dependency.
The bottom line is that our modest 14,000-square-foot building is hit with $50,000 in annual property taxes. And when we refinanced our building loan in 2006, Maryland and Baltimore real-estate taxes drove up the cost of this routine financial transaction by $36,000.
Successful Baltimore-based companies like Under Armour and McCormick succeed despite the business climate, not because of it, writes Mr. Steinmetz, who also points out that “the simplest, most direct way to offer hope to discouraged people is to hire them.”