By granting tax benefits on a case-by-case basis to projects like the Exelon building, the government is essentially staying in the development business ("Harbor Point tax deal challenged," June 3).

The City Council is greenlighting projects whose proponents make a good case that Baltimore's tax system makes their projects uneconomical.

It's heady stuff for the City Council to be wined, dined and lobbied by these powerful interests.

Yet to really get Baltimore going, the city should shock the system with a 50 percent tax reduction financed by long-term bonds and let the market decide where the growth will be.

Families would flock to the city and developers would fall all over themselves to provide homes, retail, office and other infrastructure development without special tax breaks. The city would thrive and tax revenues would soar.

However, in that case, of course, the council members would not have all the development decision power. The market would.

Stanley Rodbell