Baltimore Responds After Dozens of Businesses Threaten to Stop Paying Taxes

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
June 13, 2021US News
Baltimore Responds After Dozens of Businesses Threaten to Stop Paying Taxes
Baltimore City Hall, in Baltimore, Md., on May 2, 2019. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Around three dozen businesses in Fells Point, Baltimore, said in a letter that they won’t pay taxes unless the city adequately deals with a surge in crime in the area that included a series of recent shootings earlier this month that left three dead.

According to local reports, in response, the Baltimore Police Department’s Mobile Command Center has set up in Fells Point for the weekend. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, days after the letter was sent during a town hall, promised more officers would be deployed around the historic bar area and would be “laser-focused on scanning for weapons and potential incidents.”

Last week, 37 restaurants and small businesses sent a letter to the mayor’s office, titled, “Letter to City Leaders From Fells Point Business Leaders,” saying they would stop paying local taxes and other fees until “basic and essential municipal services are restored.” The letter was addressed to Democrat Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Democrat Council President Nick Mosby, Democrat Councilman Zeke Cohen, and Harrison.

“What is happening in our front yard—the chaos and lawlessness that escalated this weekend into another night of tragic, unspeakable gun violence—has been going on for far too long,” reads the letter from the businesses.

They want the city to enforce traffic and parking laws, pick up trash, stop the open-air drug sales, and allow police to enforce laws.

Along with a list of the names of the businesses, it reads, “Undersigned parties are prepared to withhold our city taxes and minor privilege and permit fees and place those funds into an escrow account, which we will not release until and unless basic and essential municipal services are restored.”

One of the business owners, Eric Mathias—who operates The Horse You Came In On saloon—sharply criticized Baltimore city officials in a Facebook post last week

“We have people, illegally and openly selling booze + drugs and assaulting residents and visitors (for years now) in basically a public park,” he wrote, adding that city officials and police “sit back and not do a [expletive] thing, cause they have no leverage and it’s the highest level of cowardice. Like I said before, rules only apply to people they can squeeze and shake down for dollars.”

Mathias then announced that “for the first time,” his bar will have armed security and “won’t stop until the shit completely collapses and we lose or we get a somewhat safe Fell’s Point again.”

Bill Packo, who owns Barley’s Backyard, described the area as being rife with out-of-control violence and public intoxication.

“It’s a shame. What they’re letting happen to Fells Point is what they let happen in the Inner Harbor, and now it has made its way here,” Packo told WJZ-13. “There’s alcohol being sold by individuals out there, drugs, and clearly we all know about the shootings that took place last weekend. But there needs to be some control out there. There is none whatsoever.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the City of Baltimore for comment on the letter.

From The Epoch Times

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