June 16, 2016
Baltimore, MD – Today Baltimore Green Party candidate for Mayor, Joshua Harris, releases his economic plan for Baltimore City. The plan is designed to shift decision-making power from City Hall to Baltimore’s neighborhoods and to build wealth within communities. It will end the failed model of wealth extraction by large developers, financiers and corporations that drives inequality in our city. It will use a racial equity lens to scrutinize proposals for new projects to ensure that they heal the racial and wealth divide rather than exacerbating it.
The centerpiece of the economic plan is a Baltimore City Public Bank that will grow money for Baltimore’s residents rather than for Wall Street investors. This will save millions each year in fees that are normally paid to Wall Street. The bank will hold the city’s public dollars and, with the guidance of city residents who set the mission of the bank, will leverage those dollars to support projects that benefit the residents. It will partner with community banks and credit unions to support small loans so that residents can purchase vacant homes and rehabilitate them or to support the start-up of new businesses and worker-owned enterprises.
Harris’ platform represents the new economy that is taking shape in the 21st century. It is an economy that places people’s needs and protection of the planet before profit. “We are fortunate to have local institutions in Maryland that are working to define the new economy,” said candidate for US Senate, Green Party, Dr. Margaret Flowers. “The basic elements for this new economy are here. We need a mayor like Joshua Harris, who is advocating for these new ideas and is willing to work with neighborhoods to make them a reality in our city starting with the communities that have been the most neglected.”
Flowers and her partner, Kevin Zeese, organized a Baltimore Economic Democracy conference at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in May, 2014 through their project It’s Our Economy. The conference was designed with the aid of groups and individuals in Baltimore who are working on components of the new economy. It consisted of five tracks: Cooperative businesses, public banks and complementary currencies, local food systems, decentralized renewable energy and affordable housing.
“When I look around our city I see incredible potential. When I speak to long-time residents, I hear stories of the days before the city shifted most of its investment away from the neighborhoods and to the waterfront. I hear about thriving communities with local markets and neighborhoods where residents felt safe,” said Flowers. “That desire and spirit still lives in Baltimore. We are the ‘City of Firsts’ and I believe that Harris’ economic plan will reverse the damage done to the city residents over the past few decades and will become a model for cities across the nation. As Senator, I will work with Harris and others to support this plan and promote it to the rest of the state and the nation.”