Governor Hogan using taxpayer funds for another shady deal in Baltimore County
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 26th January 2019
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Office of the Maryland Governor/Joe Andrucyk
Gov. Hogan, this is the people’s money you are spending on cronyism and corporate welfare. (Office of the Maryland Governor/Joe Andrucyk)

The Baltimore Post received a press release from Tradepoint Atlantic announcing that Floor & Decore plans to open a 1.5 million square foot distribution center that will provide 150 jobs by the end of 2023.

The Post will slice through the backslapping propaganda in TPA’s announcement and expose some hardcore facts involving what we believe is a misuse of our precious few taxpayer dollars to, once again, ingratiate the bottom line of billionaire businessmen.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this latest middle-class taxpayer fleecing, we again want to make it clear that this is a nonpartisan issue. Rather, this is a bipartisan fleecing effort from Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore County Executive Johnny O.

To sum it up, a Republican governor and a Democratic county executive are again giving tax credits and conditional loans in the millions of dollars for a total of 150 logistical warehouse jobs, which are not high-paying positions by any means.

Keep in mind the political propaganda provided by Councilman Todd Crandell and the rest of his political cronies: TPA is supposed to bolster the depleted job market (after the closing of the former steel plant) to the tune of 17,000 new jobs.

Here’s what we actually know about some of the grandiose propaganda we have been forced to endure about these new jobs coming to TPA.

Let’s start with FedEx. The Baltimore Sun said it best:

FedEx employs about 180 package handlers and about 70 managers and administrative workers at Sparrows Point. The company also has about 150 contracted drivers.

The commercial below probably cost more money than either the state or county will receive in tax dollars.

That’s why they call it corporate welfare, folks.

Maybe we missed something in the video, but there seems to be no mention of the salaries that will be earned by workers at FedEx. We also want to note that then-CEO Michael Moore is no longer working for TPA.

Former CEO Michael Moore with the DRC’s Dr. Amy Menzer (Photo credit/TPA)

The Baltimore Post is entirely different from other media outlets because we always ask the tough questions. The only problem is that we never get answers from those who are feeding off the middle-class taxpayers while laughing all the way to the bank.

It seems that nobody at TPA, Under Armour, or the government will tell us the truth about the continuous  wasting of our tax dollars to ingratiate corporate welfare and cronyism. Yet, other media outlets keep reporting that Under Armour will occupy the huge TPA-located warehouse with a thousand employees. Based on our evidence, that appears to be an outright lie.

Here’s a quote from Governor Hogan that should make us scratch our collective heads:

“It’s a big win for Maryland and the Baltimore region that a growing national company like Floor & Decor is choosing to open a new facility and bring 150 new jobs to Tradepoint Atlantic,” Hogan said in a statement. “Attracting this exciting project to Maryland underscores our commitment to keeping our state open for business and working hard to create new job opportunities for Marylanders.”

How is that a “big win” for Maryland, or Baltimore? A big win would have happened had his attempt to lure Amazon with a $5 billion incentive worked. It’s probably all for the best. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now being trashed in the media, and the Amazon prices probably would have skyrocketed upward had the company chose to locate in one of the most heavily taxed states in the country.

But let’s get back to the “big win” that our governor is touting. The state’s contribution to this lucrative deal for Floor & Decore is $700,000. That may not seem like a lot of money, but when you factor in the bus route created by MTA running nonstop from Baltimore City into TPA, along with millions more spent on improving roads, bridges, tunnels, it all adds up.

Ultimately, us middle-class taxpayers could be looking at a minimum $1 billion tab after TPA builds out.

It should be noted that additional tax credits will come from other state agencies: job creation tax credits, enterprise zone tax credits, training grants through the state’s Partnership for Workforce Quality program, etc. These additional grants have to come from the state budget, so they will quickly add to the figures we’ve already mentioned.

Meanwhile, Baltimore County’s involvement in this newest corporate welfare scheme is a loan of $70,000. Again, not much money on the surface, but certainly a lot when you consider that the county is $2 billion in the hole.

It should be noted that the last freebie to TPA was never actually authenticated by law, as the bill granting TPA’s $78 million loan was never mentioned in the bill.

While the county’s infrastructure is crumbling, the following quote reveals the hypocrisy of our government officials:

The County will reimburse Tradepoint Atlantic for road costs through a portion of the funds that the State of Maryland pays to Baltimore County for new projects within a designated Enterprise Zone.

Here is what Baltimore County Executive Johnny O said:

“By continuing to support the businesses of tomorrow, we can continue Sparrows Point’s transformative redevelopment into a vibrant hub for global commerce,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewsk, Jr.i said in a statement.

There is nothing favoring working-class taxpayers with that “vibrant hub for global commerce.”

The Baltimore Post has covered this issue since the beginning, but some people just aren’t getting the message. Case in point–North Point Community Association President Dave Patro, who said, “If the loans to TPA bring just one job to the area, it’s worth it.”

Maybe Mr. Patro should take a look at the main road to his community, which is maintained by the state. The conditions of the roads leading right into TPA are not the best, as shown in the slide presentation below. Please take the time to see how deplorable Route 151, also known as North Point Boulevard, really is.

TPA Road Hazard
Photo Credit: The Baltimore Post staff photographer

Please use the arrows to scroll through the slideshow below. Note: These photos depict state roads only and not those of TPA.

We believe this proves that Governor Hogan has neglected his duty to maintain the infrastructure of our highways.

By the way, Baltimore County’s $78 million loan to upgrade and improve all of TPA’s infrastructure will include brand-new roadways inside the facility.

Once the estimated 30,000+ tractor-trailers start rolling up these already crumbling state routes, those 150 jobs and the tax revenue they will generate won’t be enough to repair all of the potholes.

Whatever happened to the great American work ethic, where people started businesses and worked hard to make their money without government welfare or corporate cronyism? We offer the television ad below as an example of that much better time:

Video credit/YouTube

Today, everyone just wants a handout–especially the rich and powerful, who keep getting the pols to take money from the middle class’ wallets.