Gov Hogan: please veto all line items in the capital budget for funding a Downtown Hotel Conference Center here in Frederick. Hotels can and should stand on their own feet financially. They should not receive state funding. Conference/convention centers often get state funding, and usually the result is chronic losses — Rocky Gap, Cambridge, Ocean City and Baltimore for example.
State funding sets state and local government up for continuing tax burdens. It also damages competing, financially self-sufficient facilities. It is unfair to them and to taxpayers, many of whom can’t afford holidays or conferences.
The Frederick project is especially bad. As an ‘upscale’ facility with fancy finishes and large guestrooms, several in-house restaurants and bars the Frederick project will be expensive to build and will take business away from established businesses.
The City has chosen a difficult site on narrow downtown streets and faces opposition on grounds of historic preservation and traffic. The promoters have yet to present detailed plans to City agencies for permitting.
The project is being promoted with the bogus argument that it represents ‘economic development’ and will spur new spending, new jobs, new revenues. But people have limited budgets. They can only spend more money at the new facility by cutting what they spend at others. What is ‘development’ at a place sponsored by local politicians is ‘anti-development’ at other places.
Sir, you ran for office promising to cut wasteful government spending. This Frederick hotel project initiated in 2009 is more than wasteful, it is destructive. As a work-in-planning it has loomed year after year as a threat to any independent investor-initiated project in our downtown since others cannot compete with a developer with tens of millions of government money. City government should not be picking a hotel developer and using state funds to underwrite his monopoly downtown. Please veto this damaging boondoggle. We need to put it to rest so sound investments can be made in our city.