Too many people in Baltimore are systematically denied the basic opportunities for healthy and productive development. Too many babies are born sick and too many children start school unprepared. Too many youngsters attend schools that aren’t academically, culturally or physically enriching and too many have no positive place to go when school is out. Too many families live in dangerous neighborhoods void of basic amenities and too many adults lack the sobriety, skills or chances to be gainfully employed – as we all wish to be.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here’s an audacious idea!
We, the citizens, can insist on accountable spending of our tax dollars to ensure equal access to basic opportunities.
When the Mayor presents the nearly $2.9 billion annual operating budget, it must clearly state what city priorities are being addressed; what services and opportunities will be funded and what outcomes are expected.
The budget must include footnotes that detail measurable information. For example:
Priority: Babies born healthy
Opportunity: $1 million for prenatal health care and parenting support for an additional 200 uninsured pregnant women
Outcome: 2% more newborns are born healthy with the chance for normal development
Priority: Adults gainfully employed with benefits
Opportunity: $2 million to train 2,000 adults in trades begging for workers
Outcome: Thousands more adults employed, self-sufficient, and boosting city revenues
Why not make our budget work for Baltimoreans, who in turn, will work for the city’s economic health and well being of its people… capable people who have opportunities to purchase homes, build businesses, pay taxes and raise children, who in their turn grow up capable, responsible and prepared to sustain and grow opportunities for generations to come.
Or we can sustain the status quo – watching our tax dollars going for the same things year after year – and expecting different results. But that would be insane!
Make Baltimore a city of opportunity … Who says it can’t be done?