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Md. delegate candidates weigh in on issues

August 28, 2010
  • William J. Wivell
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Editor's note: The Herald-Mail asked candidates in some contested races in the Sept. 14 primary election to respond to eight questions. The responses of candidates for each of those races will be published over two days.

The first four responses by candidates in contested races for the Maryland House of Delegates are below. The final four responses by those candidates will appear Monday.

The Q&A's that have already run can be found on The Herald-Mail website at http://www.herald-mail.com.

MARYLAND HOUSE OF DELEGATES SUBDISTRICT 1C



Republican and Democratic primary races uncontested

LeRoy E. Myers Jr., 58

Incumbent

14627 National Pike, Clear Spring

Republican

Ronald Lohr, 54

11210 Cresap Mill Road SE, Flintstone

Democrat




MARYLAND HOUSE OF DELEGATES SUBDISTRICT 2A



Democratic primary race uncontested

Neil Becker, 39

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10811 Wyncote Drive, Halfway

Democrat

Republican primary race, three candidates

Question: What do you see as the top two issues in your race and what should the state do to address those issues?

Andrew A. Serafini, 48

Incumbent

13918 Marsh Pike, Hagerstown

Republican

Managing the state's spending and revenues will dominate the coming term. Maryland's so-called balanced budget is dependent upon Federal "bailout" funds. These funds have supported the state's increased spending, but will dry up in coming years. Also, the state needs to work with local governments to adjust for possible reductions and look for ways to more efficiently deliver necessary services. The other side of the equation is how to grow revenues without raising taxes. We need a commitment to creating a more business-friendly environment to create jobs and economic opportunities for Maryland families -- ultimately increasing the tax base.

Denny Stouffer, 56

23506 Ringgold Pike, Ringgold

Republican

1) Reduce Taxes: Maryland seems to have some kind of tax and/or fee for just about anything and everything. Every time you turn around the State is hitting you in the pocketbook for more money in taxes/fees than the previous year. It is impossible to continue increasing taxes on citizens and/or businesses and expect the economy to rebound or prosper. 2) Less Governmen Regulations: Regulations are almost as bad as taxes and fees. ... It would be nice to have the same rights and privileges that our fathers and grandfathers had and the same constitutional protections they enjoyed without overbearing restrictive government regulations.

William J. Wivell, 46

49 E. Water St., Smithsburg

Republican

Accountability/Fiscal responsibility -- Protect MD's AAA bond rating. Policies shouldn't allow for transfer of funds to unintended uses. Raiding "rainy-day" funds, issuing debt for items previously funded through general fund ("flush tax") and for land preservation, and redirecting POS Funds to fund operations of DNR are examples. Develop strong financial policies and adhere to them, don't borrow so much, and don't spend too much. Regulatory environment/Economic Development -- The MD regulatory environment has a reputation for inhibiting Maryland's ability to compete in attracting/retaining a strong employment base. Conduct comprehensive review of Maryland's tax structure/regulatory environment and make changes where necessary.

Question: How should the state close its budget gap?

Serafini: Some of the largest challenges have fairly simple answers. The State must learn to live within its means. Similar to what families and businesses across the state have already had to do. Funding levels may have to be frozen and some others may have to be cut. There must be a commitment from all involved and an understanding that if we do not make some difficult choices now we may not have choices later.

Stouffer: Cut Spending: Proportionally, there is as much "pork" in the State budget as there is in the Federal budget. Maryland needs to curtail all unnecessary spending and unfunded mandates. Maybe then we can live within our means.

Wivell: By cutting expenses and not raising taxes: review all areas of budget, eliminate/reduce entitlement programs where possible, review areas of excessive budget growth, control spending, reduce borrowing. Washington County addressed State budget cuts in excess of $10 million annually by not building excess revenues into its baseline budget over the past few budget cycles, but instead used funds for capital projects, thus reducing actual borrowing below planned borrowing by $31 million. Some funding was then used to supplant shortfalls in FY 2011 operating budget while still reducing new borrowing below $10.9 million and paying off $9.2 million of existing debt.

Question: Maryland is facing a shortfall in its pension system. What should the state do?

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