By Luke Broadwater
The Baltimore Sun
7:00 AM EST, February 11, 2013
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says she plans to introduce a "bold set of major reforms" at her annual "State of the City" speech Monday, less than a week after her press office released a consultant's report that painted a dire picture of future city finances.
The speech is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the Du Burns Council Chamber on the fourth floor of City Hall.Last week's report by Philadelphia-based Public Financial Management Inc. concluded that Baltimore is facing a structural deficit of nearly $750 million over the next 10 years. It pointed to pension and health care costs as the two biggest drivers of the city's projected deficit.
The mayor said her reforms will focus on "eliminating the deficit, making modern investments and changing the city's tax structure to make Baltimore more competitive for growth."
The address will be Rawlings-Blake's fourth "State of the City" speech since becoming mayor in February 2010. She has consistently used the platform to focus on plans to fix Baltimore's financial and infrastructure woes.
In 2010, less than a month after assuming office, Rawlings-Blake told citizens of a "devastating" budget shortfall that would be a "true test" for the city's "survival but also renewal."
In 2011, Rawlings-Blake warned of an $81 million budget shortfall, and trumpeted new efforts to boost jobs in new technology, crack down on perpetrators of domestic violence and reorganize the city's economic development arm.
Last year, the mayor emphasized her goal to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families, along with proposals to increase the city bottle tax and borrow to upgrade school facilities.
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