As a Maryland resident and advocate for increased business opportunities for small and minority businesses struggling to survive in today's uncertain economy, I find the recent article about the State Highway Administration's Sign Shop fabricating 8,500 to 9,500 signs per year troubling ("Sign shop helps you on your way," Aug. 17).
There are many private sector sign shops in Maryland that should be doing this work. Making signs is not a legitimate function of government. This is an example of government in-sourcing at its worst where the government has no business being in this business and taking away jobs from small and minority businesses. I encourage Gov. Martin O'Malley and Maryland's political leaders to stop this intrusion into the private sector and disband this state-run, tax-supported sign shop venture. Small and minority businesses should compete for this work.
The state employees who are working in the SHA sign shop can apply for work at these businesses in the private sector. Taxpayers should not be paying their salaries and pensions — for which there is a huge deficit and growing financial burden — while our taxes go up to pay for them. Taxpayers and legislators should ask for an audit of state government to see where there are other agencies doing in-sourcing work and competing for business with the private sector and demand that these types of business in-sourcing be removed from government functions.
Our government needs to be held accountable and transparent to the taxpayers who pay for it.
Roger A. Campos, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president and CEO of the Minority Business RoundTable.