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"A huge part of the problem, and probably one of the biggest parts of the problem, is that 60 percent of all of the people that are arrested and charged and prosecuted for committing crimes with guns in the city are let out into the streets. They don’t serve time. That’s a huge problem, because it’s the same people committing the same kinds of crimes over and over," said Governor Larry Hogan.

The article, "Hogan seeks solution to Baltimore violence" (July 7), quotes Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan: "We have invested a tremendous amount of money in Baltimore City, more than any other place in the state. It hasn't really worked. We're open to any kind of possible solutions that anyone wants to talk about."

Governor Hogan, now is the time to finally hold Baltimore's feet to the fire. Baltimore gets almost $1 billion a year from the state, most of which goes to reinforce the bad behavior of too many of its residents. The city is among the nation's leaders in drug abuse, violent crime, venereal disease and out-of-wedlock birth rates (over 70 percent of total births). It is this latter problem that drives all of the other social ills. Welfare and poverty experts, like Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation, have proven conclusively that high out-of-wedlock birth rates cause violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse and rampant poverty and illiteracy. However, he concludes that if government would stop paying women and girls to have these babies that they can't afford to take care of (by ending the practice of subsidizing them), there would be considerably fewer.

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Once this happens, everything else in the city would improve. This is a win-win situation for everyone — the state saves hundreds of millions of dollars a year and Baltimore goes from being a third world city to one that can start to attract new business and residents. Baltimore will become a model for the rest of the country and the governor will have turned the city from a drag on the state to a positive force. One way to bring the city's leaders on board is to allow Baltimore to receive 50 percent of all future savings from reduced out-of-wedlock births with no strings attached to the money. This will make them an ally instead of an adversary. The savings are endless — police, health care, prisons, courts, Medicaid, schools, hospitals, special education and many other areas.

In addition, the children affected will be much better off. Women and girls will no longer be having babies just to get a check and then expecting the state to support them and their children. Activist groups will scream and predict the most dire consequences. But remember, they did this in 1996 about the welfare reform law that Congress passed and they were 100 percent wrong. Everyone benefited from that legislation and the same thing will happen if Maryland follows these common sense proposals now.

Ray Gordon, Bel Air

Send letters to the editor to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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