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Opinion

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City economic development projects don't produce living-wage jobs

I applaud The Sun for its recent editorial on income inequality ("Labor reawakens," April 27). The increasing income inequality in this country affects the ability of families to survive, much less thrive, on what they earn from minimum wage jobs.

The editorial highlighted a labor strike by Chicago low-wage workers and their "Fight for 15" rally. Yet the fact that Baltimore workers are organizing around "fair development" was mentioned in only one sentence. I wonder why The Sun did not find it important to cover the local "reawakening" here by reporting on the Fair Development Rally and March held April 20th.

A major focus of that event was the billions of dollars Baltimore residents have given in tax breaks to wealthy developers — without requiring that benefits be returned to the public in the form of living-wage jobs so that people in our city can pull themselves out of poverty.

The developers make big promises to the mayor, the Baltimore Development Corp., and the City Council, and elected officials allow them tax breaks based on their often inflated claims.

How has our city fared given this type of economic development? It is clear that if Baltimore is ever going to lift people out of poverty, we will have to do as the Chicago workers have done: Take matters into our own hands.

It is time for our city to find a new way of doing economic development.

Betty Robinson, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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