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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 08/29/2010

Baker: Customers and capital

By washingtonpost.com editors


The Post asked the candidates in the Democratic primary for county executive in Prince George's: "What is the most important thing the county can do to attract more jobs and development?"

By Rushern L. Baker III

High-quality schools and safe neighborhoods will have to be the norm in Prince George’s to attract and grow businesses. But it’s unrealistic to ask an entrepreneur, a consumer or a resident in need of a job to wait until the schools no longer rank last and the crime rate is no longer high before we inject opportunity into our economy. We must act now.

Every candidate supports development near our 15 Metro stations, but the benefits from that development will happen only if we have labor agreements with hiring incentives that give Prince Georgians an edge. Local governments often use tax breaks to lure business. But if you’re behind in key statistical areas, as we are, you must do more.

That’s why a Baker administration will support policies that create what businesses truly need: customers and capital. We will reward businesses whose employees become residents and homeowners, and create incentives for our workforce to live in Prince George’s and shop at retail establishments that hire and train our workers.

In addition, the economic development bureaucracy has to be streamlined and made more responsive. The county’s cumbersome regulatory approval process impedes growth. We hear this every election cycle, but nothing changes. It will change under a Baker administration.

Transit-oriented development will create jobs as well as the convenient, attractive housing and amenities commonplace at Metro stops such as Rosslyn and Silver Spring. We must also revitalize our major corridors, such as Route 1, Central Avenue and Route 4, Oxon Hill Road and other neglected areas of the county and near the D.C. border.
With all of these projects, I will work to create state, federal, and private partnerships and incentives and encourage local business participation at every level of construction and renovation. All of this combined will make a good county great.

The writer served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1994 to 2003. He is a lawyer and former CEO of Community Teachers Institute.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | August 29, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Prince George's County  
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