Economy

Hardworking men and women across the 45th District deserve a living wage and paid sick leave. The formerly incarcerated, having already paid their debts to society, still face barriers to steady employment and stand in need of a second chance. We must work to build an inclusive economic model that lifts up our entire District.

 

 

Living Wage

In July 2018, Maryland will increase its minimum wage to $10.10. Unfortunately, this increase is still out of pace with the cost of living in Baltimore City. Workers at or near minimum wage provide childcare, medical care and support to some of our most vulnerable populations. Stephanie will fight for:

  • an increase in the state minimum wage to support workers we count on to take care our of our seniors, disabled and children.
  • legislative efforts to gradually raise the Maryland minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023.

Workers are also customers. Increased local buying power will also benefit other local businesses.

 

 

Reentry Hiring Incentives and Programming

Maryland and only five other states provide tax credits for employers that hire individuals with felony records. We must review how to strengthen this program to expand economic opportunity for our neighbors.

Stephanie supports:

  • state procurement preference for businesses that employ workers with criminal records.

Baltimore residents comprise over 1/3 of Maryland’s prison admissions while only making up 10% of the state’s population. This means we need to pay close attention to systems that support the formerly incarcerated in turning their lives around.

Stephanie supports:

  • regular reporting on the impact of existing reentry programs so Maryland can prioritize investments in programs that work.

 

Education

Stephanie will work with stakeholders from all levels of government to get our children the resources they need. In Annapolis, it is critical that we have a delegation that inspires faith in Baltimore City’s efforts to update our school infrastructure, innovate instruction and advance opportunity for all children.

Stephanie supports a school funding model that takes racial equity into the evaluation criteria.

Maryland’s State Constitution requires the state adequately fund all public schools. Baltimore City advocates have fought for decades for fair funding for our City’s children. Our children have yet to feel the fullness of this constitutional mandate.

Equitable Education Funding

Since Fall 2016, the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has convened a series of meetings. The Commission is preparing legislative recommendations based on the 9 Blocks for a World Class Education System:

  1. Provide strong supports for children and their families before students arrive at school
  2. Provide more resources for at-risk students than for others
  3. Develop world-class, highly coherent instructional systems
  4. Create clear gateways for students through the system, set to global standards, with no dead ends
  5. Assure an abundant supply of highly qualified teachers
  6. Redesign schools to be places in which teachers will be treated as professionals, with incentives and support to continuously improve their professional practice and the performance of their students
  7. Create an effective system of career and technical education and training
  8. Create a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels to manage such systems effectively
  9. Institute a governance system that has the authority and legitimacy to develop coherent, powerful policies and is capable of implementing them at scale.

Stephanie supports:

  • a finalized funding formula that uses an equity lens to ensure high need systems like Baltimore City are properly funded.

 

School Infrastructure

While the crisis of Baltimore City’s school infrastructure gained national attention in early 2018, these challenges to providing a proper work and learning environment are not new. In fact, only 17% of City schools were deemed in “good” condition based on a recent 21st Century Schools report.

Stephanie will fight to update structural impediments to Baltimore receiving and deploying capital dollars from the state. Our kids deserve state and local infrastructure programs that center student safety and success.

 

Universal Pre-K

Stephanie knows a strong start is critical to cultivating life long learners. Families ineligible for free preschool programs may still find the costs of a private provider too burdensome.

Stephanie supports raising family income limits to increase access to affordable and high quality Pre-K.

 

Public Safety

Stephanie knows supporting policies that reduce poverty and improve education for our youth is fundamental to improving public safety. That’s why she’ll advocate for youth engagement funding as well as improved training/resources for community-led efforts to reduce crime.

Disconnected or Opportunity Youth (defined as young people ages 16-24 who are not enrolled in school or employed) are more likely to live in poverty, have limited social bonds and are vulnerable to the temptations of crime. Creating an environment where Opportunity Youth can reconnect is essential to improving community safety and well-being.

Stephanie supports:

  • Increasing state funding for localities to scale evidence-based violence interruption programs like “Safe Streets
  • Right sizing Baltimore police precinct boundaries to current population needs
  • Establishing a state fund for programs that target employment and education pathways for Opportunity Youth
  • Establishing tax incentives and state procurement preference for companies that hire and support the development of Opportunity Youth.

 

Transportation

Communities need environmentally-sound, affordable and high-quality public transit to better participate in our economy. That’s why Stephanie will work with regional stakeholders to gain support for expanded high-quality transit options.

Short-Term Policies

Job centers north and south of Baltimore City make it difficult for many transit-dependent residents to make it to work in a reliable and affordable way.

Stephanie supports:

  • short-term incentives for businesses that provide shuttles and other short-term transportation solutions for workers without currently efficient and affordable transit options.
  • working with MTA and the City of Baltimore to design targeted express bus service for major employment hubs and communities with limited transit access in target employee catchment areas.

Long-Term Policies

Governor Hogan’s failure to implement the shovel-ready Red Line to connect East and West Baltimore has impeded the growth of our city and the region. Stephanie supports:

  • efforts to reignite the Red Line (mix of light rail and subway lines) are essential to Baltimore’s economic future. Improved internal Baltimore City transit modes and routing strengthens existing communities and helps attract economic investment.
  • monitoring the proposed Maglev (ultra high speed) rail between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. for its potential environmental impact and ridership costs. Assessing the project through an equity lens would be critical to assess the benefit for Baltimore City residents.

 

Authority

Friends of Stephanie Smith | Authority: Raymond Card, Treasurer