We are asking Baltimore organizations who share our perspective on this budget to please sign below. We will be hand delivering the letter and signatures on the morning of Friday, May 24th.
Mayor Bernard ”Jack” Young
Baltimore City Hall
Dear Mayor Young,
Congratulations on your new job as Mayor of Baltimore. You take office at a difficult time when our city needs bold leadership to restore public confidence that good government is possible.
We, the undersigned organizations in Baltimore, urge you to be that bold leader by making significant revisions to the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that you inherited from the previous mayor.
The FY2020 budget currently proposed does not reflect the morals of our organizations or the needs of the people of Baltimore. For every general fund $1.00 spent on police, Pugh’s budget would spend 53 cents on schools, 15 cents on housing and community development, 13 cents on human services, just over a nickel on jobs ($.06) and only one penny on substance use disorder and mental health.
In fact, Baltimore spends much more per capita on police than similar cities -- at least 25% more. In 2017, Baltimore spent $772 per resident, while Detroit spent $450, New York $581; and Houston $383. And the rate in Baltimore increases to $817 per resident in proposed FY2020. Over the10 years, spending on the Police and Sheriff’s Departments has grown by 67%, from $317.2 million in FY2010 to $527.2 million in FY2020. It’s grown faster than the city’s overall General Fund, which increased by only 44% over the same time.
Meanwhile, twice as many people in Baltimore are dying of overdoses as murder. If ever increasing police spending worked, Baltimore would be one of our nation’s safest city. Instead, we have been deemed the most dangerous by both the FBI and USA Today.
We need very different budget priorities. We call on you to make a commitment to right-size Baltimore’s police budget by ultimately moving 25% from policing to investments that will actually build a safe and thriving city. Demonstrate this commitment now by moving 5% ($26 million) from the proposed FY2020 policing budget. The list of needed, alternative investments is long: fully fund our schools, flood the streets with overdose reversal kits, create good jobs, particularly for residents who are formerly incarcerated or facing other roadblocks to meaningful, sustaining work.
You have a unique opportunity to break from the past and set Baltimore on a different course, restoring hope with a new moral compass. We urge you to take it.