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Tax Broke: Public Policy, Private Practices, and Injustice in Baltimore

On Thursday November 17th, 6:00PM, 231 Holliday Street, The Real News Network is hosting a presentation of "Tax Broke", a documentary directed by Stephen Janis and Taya Graham, with the assistance of SSW Adjunct Faculty member Jeff Singer.

The film explores the history of the city’s fraught relationship with segregation and a political economy fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives doled out, behind closed doors, to politically connected developers - both white and black.


For decades, Baltimore has struggled to grow, hamstrung by a property tax rate twice the surrounding counties. The unequal burden has prompted the city to pursue a risky strategy of paying developers to build.


Using incentives with innocuous acronyms like TIFs and PILOTs, new construction in the city has occurred largely at the expense of the city’s working class. Despite the promises that incentives would reverse the city’s decline, Baltimore continues to lose population and developers reap outsize profits


How did we get here? Why is Baltimore the only jurisdiction in the state that must pay for development? Is there a better way to grow a city?


Following the film, the audience will discuss alternatives to the city’s risky and unequal strategy for growth, and how to create a more productive and fair path towards equitable development.


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