1. What would your top priorities be as an elected official?
1) Broaden the tax base and increase tax revenues to the State by reducing and/or eliminating taxes to bring back taxpaying corporations and citizens (over 6,500 businesses and 31,000 taxpayers have left Maryland during the O’Malley administration),
2) increase jobs by bringing back the corporations and small businesses and eliminating/revising anti-business regulations that after analysis can’t show a positive cost-benefit tradeoff,
3) improve education in Maryland by reforming our State’s charter school laws, and by championing school choice to unshackle students from poor neighborhood schools simply because of their home zip code,
4) enhancing the returns of the State Pension Fund to State employee retirees by A) firing the under-performing Wall Street investment advisors to the Fund and B) indexing the Fund to the market, an unmanaged approach, to raise the returns to average which would be a huge improvement over decades of underperformance, and
5) relieving traffic congestion by A) adding lanes to roads and highways and improving major intersections, B) making the Transportation trust Fund off limits to “raiding” by the Legislature and/or the Governor to paper over shortfalls in the operating budget, C) in similar fashion use revenues from the gas tax ONLY for road and highway improvements, and D) redirecting funds for subway and light rail projects to road, highway, and intersection improvements.
2. Why should people vote for you instead of your opponents?
Because the contrast between my platform (see answer to question “What would your top priorities be as an elected official?”) and the incumbent State Senator’s platform could hardly be more dramatic. Her record of consistently voting for tax increases, and creating more taxes, is a matter of public record. So is her record of advocating for socialized medicine, and voting for controversial bills such as the “Bathroom Bill.” She also has been an elected official since 2002 and I have never been an elected official, so voters can choose between an entrenched incumbent and a “citizen legislator” who serves but does not intend to make public service a career. The incumbent also voted against lowering or eliminating the death tax, despite the majority of Montgomery County taxpayers being IN FAVOR of reducing or eliminating it. It’s not only expensive to LIVE in Maryland, it’s expensive to DIE in Maryland, with the death tax and inheritance tax.. I am in favor of eliminating both taxes. District 14 voters have a clear choice between voting for more of the same, including the incumbent’s support of the Affordable Care Act and the botched Maryland Health Exchange, and a fresh face and voice representing them in Annapolis who comes from the business world and understands what it takes to grow a successful business that pays taxes and employs people, and who is focused on common sense and “what works” and RESULTS and not ideology.
3. What do you think of Maryland’s state budget? If you think there should be cuts, where should they be? If spending should increase, where is it needed?
While most Maryland taxpayers have had to make tough decisions and tighten our belts, the O’Malley administration increased spending by 36% during its 8 years in office. In their bi-annual study, the National Governor’s Association observed that Maryland had increased spending more than 46 other states. Tax revenues never seem to be enough, so the current Administration and Legislature go back to the same old failed approach of creating more taxes (rain, chicken, etc) and increasing existing tax rates, driving more and more taxpayers (businesses and citizens) out of the State. I advocate eliminating some taxes and reducing tax rates to bring back taxpayers (businesses and citizens) which would broaden the tax base and enhance tax revenues, while simultaneously increasing employment with the return of businesses, and the encouraging of new-business formation. Regarding WHERE to make cuts in spending, that is something that could be negotiated by the Legislature and the Governor, and as the State Senator for District 14, I would have an open mind to clear-headed analyses of various programs, and would vote for cuts which seemed appropriate based on a cost-benefit trade off.
4. What changes, if any, would you make to Maryland’s tax structure?
I would push to phase out over 4 or 5 years the State income tax on both individuals and businesses, and I would advocate a return to 5% for the State sales tax.
5. What should the state’s transportation priorities be?
Traffic congestion is a major problem that degrades our residents’ quality of life, and it also discourages people and businesses from locating in Montgomery County. I advocate commonsense solutions that require a change in thinking and policy:
• Add lanes to congested roads and highways, improve intersections such as the grade-separated interchange at Georgia Avenue-Norbeck Road in Olney, and implement traffic-signal optimization.
• Make the Transportation Trust Fund off limits to the Legislature and the Governor; ensuring funds are available for use as originally intended. No more raiding of the Transportation Trust Fund to paper over shortfalls in the operating budget!
• In similar fashion, use the revenue from gas taxes to fund infrastructure improvements.
• Redirect state funding for subway and light rail projects to road and highway improvements. This would help reduce traffic congestion for less money than we are planning to spend on transportation over the coming years.
6. What, if any, is the government’s role in helping residents get back on track in the wake of the recession? What level should the minimum wage be?
I do not support raising the minimum wage at this time. A February 2014 study from the Congressional Budget Office found that half a million workers would lose their jobs if the Federal minimum wage was increased to $10.10. A similar change in Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00 by 2015 would lead to significant job losses. Maryland’s unemployment rate is near 7%, according to the State Department of Business and Economic Development. Many regions are worse than that, with Baltimore City at 10.2%, and counties in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore with unemployment rates around 10%. This is not the time to endanger the jobs of entry-level wage earners by raising the minimum wage and thereby forcing some businesses to let employees go and/or reduce their weekly hours worked. Raising the minimum wage SOUNDS good, and it FEELS good to the politicians who propose it now, but it actually would hurt those workers among us who are most vulnerable.. Right now it’s a bad idea to raise the minimum wage.
7. Should marijuana be legal in Maryland for medicinal or recreational use?
I am neutral on this topic pending more conclusive studies regarding the long-term effects on health of users of marijuana.
8. What is the most pressing environmental issue in Maryland? How would you address it?
I advocate for the full $50M annual funding of The Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. This critical fund must be fully supported by our Legislature each year and not be redirected to paper over shortfalls in the operating budget. Budget shortfalls must be addressed head on and not by raiding the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, the State Employees? Pension Fund, and the Gas Tax revenues.