County executive: Prince George’s Co. moving in ‘right direction’

WASHINGTON — When Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker announces his proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year, it’ll be part spending plan and part celebration of the recent years’ growth.

“Things are moving in the right direction,” Baker told WTOP before the unveiling of his next budget proposal. “This is a great place to live, invest in.”

“Every part of our great county, all 500 square miles, are seeing economic vitality, but also quality of life is rising.”

Noting redevelopment projects in the pipeline, Baker cites several examples of why property values are up: the Suitland Federal Center, downtown Largo (where ground is expected to be broken soon for a new hospital center) and future development near the New Carrollton Metro Station.

Earlier this week, Baker touted the creation of 15,000 new jobs over the last 36 months. “Now, we’re seeing the growth where public education is improving. That means the quality of life in the county looks better,” he said.

Reduced crime and streamlined permitting processes “has made us very, very attractive,” Baker said, “and that’s been seen in the growth of our property values and commercial tax base and revenues coming in.”

In addition to rising tax revenues, there’s also the revenue stream that the new MGM National Harbor is providing. After starting his tenure with cuts to some aspects of the county budget, Baker has plans to utilize the growing revenues in ways he hopes will make the county even more attractive in the months and years to come.

“The MGM revenues are going to allow us to make a greater contribution to our education system than we have in the past,” said Baker, who added that it will allow the county to hire “a significant number” of public safety officers.

Baker sees the growing revenue streams and the ability to increase investment in education and public safety as delivering on the promises he made when he began his tenure in 2010.

“I said, ‘Prince George’s County is the economic engine of the Washington region and I dare say the state,’” he said. “And if you look at the numbers now, that’s coming to fruition.”


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