Election 2014
11:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Gubernatorial Candidate Survey

Over the next few months, Maryland voters will decide who will replace Gov. Martin O'Malley in the governor’s mansion. From the state’s energy future to the struggle to create quality jobs, the next governor will make key decisions on a range of issues facing the Free State.
WYPR asked all of the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates to respond to five questions the next governor will confront.

Clockwise from top left: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Del. Heather Mizeur, Larry Hogan, Del. Ron George, Harford County Executive David Craig, Charles Lollar
Credit Photos courtesy of Maryland State Government and campaigns

Maryland’s primary election will take place June 24. Early voting begins June 12 and ends June 19. The general election will take place November 4.

Click on the candidate's name to read their response.

1) What is the most important issue the next governor of Maryland will deal with in his/her first term?

The Democrats:  Anthony BrownDoug Gansler, Heather Mizeur
The Republicans:  David Craig, Ron George, Larry Hogan, Charles Lollar

2) A recent poll found that nearly half of Marylanders believe the health of the Chesapeake Bay isn’t getting any better. What specific policies would you advocate to improve the health of the bay?
The Democrats: Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler, Heather Mizeur
The Republicans: David Craig, Ron George, Larry Hogan, Charles Lollar

3) The next governor will decide if Maryland allows companies to use hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas. What would you do to ensure it is done safely, if at all?
The Democrats: Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler, Heather Mizeur
The Republicans: David Craig, Ron George, Larry Hogan, Charles Lollar

4) While the state’s bio-tech and life sciences fields have been growing, the number of middle-class jobs available to people without college degrees has been shrinking rapidly. What would you do to create jobs that allow Marylanders without a college degree to support a family?
The Democrats: Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler, Heather Mizeur
The Republicans: David Craig, Ron George, Larry Hogan, Charles Lollar

5) The state finds itself again with a structural deficit. How will you address the state’s structural deficit?
The Democrats: Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler, Heather Mizeur
The Republicans: David Craig, Ron George, Larry Hogan, Charles Lollar

1) What is the most important issue the next governor of Maryland will deal with in his/her first term?

Anthony Brown:  Our top three priorities will be:  Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs. Under the Brown-Ulman Administration, we will create jobs by:

  1. Establishing a business climate that attracts, retains, and grows businesses in our state and encourages private investment in Maryland, while at the same time foster our commitment to protecting Maryland's workers, consumers, and environment;
  2. Investing in a modern, sustainable, innovative, and cost-effective infrastructure to support our growing economy and expanding communities;
  3. Leveraging Maryland's #1 nationally ranked public schools to deliver a world-class education to every student in Maryland, regardless of where they live, and build the most competitive workforce, beginning with investments in universal preschool and career technology education, placing a highly-qualified teacher in every classroom, and making college more affordable;
  4. Building strong communities by strengthening families and eliminating health disparities, reducing crime using the best technologies and law enforcement strategies, and ensuring every child has a home that they can call their own; and
  5. Delivering the best public services to Marylanders by basing decisions on timely, accurate and meaningful data, maintaining a motivated and trained public sector workforce and fostering greater public participation, while budgeting within spending affordability guidelines, maintaining Maryland's Triple A bond rating, and improving transparency in decision making and performance reporting.

Doug Gansler:  The most important issue for the next governor is turning around our state’s sluggish economy, which is keeping too many Maryland families out of work or stuck in jobs that keep them from making ends meet. Last year was the worst year for job creation in Maryland since the recession, and we are now ranked 49th out of 50 states in personal income growth. We need a governor who will fight for Maryland’s working families. I am the only candidate in this race to propose a comprehensive plan for boosting jobs and economic growth, and my plan will not only get more Marylanders working, but get them working in quality, family-sustaining jobs, with meaningful wages and benefits. You can learn more about my plan here.

Heather Mizeur:  Income inequality is the toughest challenge facing our state, and that is why job creation is my top priority. There is a lot of work to ensure a competitive business climate in our state and it has to start with small businesses—the real job creators in our communities. By closing tax loopholes for big multi-state corporations, we can dedicate up to $200 million in tax relief to small businesses, so they can grow. My 10-point jobs plan also focuses on putting more money in the hands of middle class families—because we know they will reinvest it in the economy. By giving 90% of Marylanders a tax cut and turning our minimum wage into a living wage, more parents will be able to buy new shoes for their children, or go out to eat more. We will also put Marylanders back to work by rebuilding our roads, transit, and schools. Together, we can create a strong economy that works for the middle class.

David Craig:  Getting spending under control at the state level. During the last 7+ years, the state budget has grown by 38%. Government is growing beyond the citizen's ability to pay for it. I will audit every state agency and department. By doing so we will expose unnecessary spending and duplication. Government must live within it's means and to be more efficient.

Ron George:  Jobs. Maryland’s private sector is suffering from an onslaught of taxes and misguided regulations that are chasing jobs away and with them, our middle class. As Governor, my focus will be on restoring entry and mid-level jobs across the state with a particular focus on the manufacturing industry, and import/export.

Larry Hogan:  After 40 straight tax hikes by the O'Malley-Brown administration, Maryland's families, the unemployed and seniors on fixed incomes are struggling. Maryland must become an affordable place to live, work and retire; this requires getting the state budget under control and working to lower tax rates. Until our tax rates and regulations are competitive with surrounding states, we will continue to lose residents, retirees and employers. In fact, according to a recent report by Gallup, 67% of Marylanders say their taxes are too high and nearly one out of every two Marylanders wants to leave our state. 

According to Change Maryland’s Taxpayer Migration Study using IRS data, under O’Malley and Brown, more than 6,500 businesses and 31,000 residents left Maryland. With these residents and employers went 100,000 jobs and over $1.5 billion in tax revenue. These former Marylanders are certainly “paying their fair share” of taxes, albeit to Virginia, Delaware and the Carolinas. 

The fact is, that until we change direction in Maryland and make our state one where people can afford to live, work and retire there’ll be even greater budget shortfalls and less funding for our priorities.

Charles Lollar:Forty-seven percent of Marylanders would leave our state if they had the opportunity, according to a recent Gallup survey. That puts Maryland at #3 nation-wide as the least family-and least business-friendly. That is a sad verdict on seven years of the O’Malley-Brown administration and the 84 new taxes and fees it has imposed on Marylanders.

My top priority will be to stem the tide of Marylanders seeking to leave the state, by turning around the economic and tax environment so businesses and families will want to come to Maryland, not leave it. I will do this by phasing out the personal income tax over five years, and dropping the corporate tax rate from 8.5% to 5%. We can achieve this by keeping state spending at cost-of-living, not expanding the state budget with the drunken extravagance of O’Malley-Brown who have added $10 billion to our budget over seven years, a 34% increase.

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2) A recent poll found that nearly half of Marylanders believe the health of the Chesapeake Bay isn’t getting any better. What specific policies would you advocate to improve the health of the bay?

Anthony Brown:  The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure that has shaped Maryland’s history, culture and economy for centuries. Building a better Maryland for more Marylanders means a strong commitment to environmental justice - providing every family the security of a healthy neighborhood, including access to clean water. 

In order to bring the benefits of cleaner water to more communities, over the last seven years we:

  1. Reduced our reliance on septic systems, which release nitrogen that threatens the health of the Bay and our groundwater.
  2. Worked with our partners in local government to upgrade our 25 largest wastewater treatment plants.
  3. Planted a record number of cover crops that prevent harmful nutrients from entering the Bay and its tributaries.  
  4. Gave our ten most-impacted counties the local authority and autonomy to decide how to make the necessary infrastructure improvements to address stormwater runoff and meet our federal clean water permit obligations. 

In order to continue our progress, the Brown-Ulman Administration will:

  1. Not roll back our efforts to reduce stormwater pollution.  Rather, we will work to improve our stormwater management program by encouraging best practices like Prince George’s County’s innovative public-private partnership model.
  2. Work with all stakeholders to create a transparent and anonymous pesticide database to understand what we apply to the land around the Bay and its tributaries. We will also strengthen implementation of nutrient management plans, to control runoff throughout Maryland. In partnership with the environmental and agricultural communities, we can achieve a healthier Bay while protecting proprietary information and supporting farmers and other commercial users.  
  3. Strengthen our environmental and agricultural agencies by giving them the resources they need to improve Maryland’s environment.

Doug Gansler:  I have spent my career as Attorney General fighting to improve the health of the Bay – increasing enforcement of environmental crimes and winning record penalties against polluters, and advocating for new laws to get Bay pollutants out of fertilizer, dishwasher detergent, and chicken feed. While we’ve made progress, there’s no question that much more can be done. As Governor, I will advocate for greater data collection on pesticides, pharmaceutical waste, and other potential Bay pollutants, so that we can better identify key sources of pollution, and I will push for more resources for those agencies that enforce our environmental regulations. I will also promote greater use of renewable energy, in particular projects that turn current threats to Bay health – like chicken litter, algae, and human waste – into sources of renewable energy. We must remember that we don’t own the Bay – our kids and grandkids do. You can see my series of proposals in this area here.

Heather Mizeur:  Our greatest natural resource is the Chesapeake Bay, and while its health has slowly improved through the years, there is still so much pollution that some doctors advise pregnant women not to swim in it. A clean Chesapeake Bay starts with what flows into it, and I am committed to cleaning up our streams and waterways, reducing nutrient pollution and stormwater runoff so we can return Maryland’s streams and rivers to a more pristine condition. It is going to be a long, difficult road, but if we roll up our sleeves and get to work, we can bring back the Bay to a healthier place. We will boost oyster populations, conserve bayside land, build green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff, and cut down chicken waste pollution. This has to be our top environmental priority. No more lip service.

David Craig:  I believe that some of the major contributes to the pollution the Chesapeake Bay are the neighboring states as well as theConowingo Dam. I also believe we must assess all of the local and municipal sewage treatment plants and make any and all upgrades a priority. Regarding our neighboring states, it is important that they be a party to an effort the clean up the Bay. We must unilaterally implement laws without the cooperation without our neighboring states. It is unfair and unrealistic to think that Maryland can heal the Chesapeake Bay by itself. Regarding the Conowingo Dam, I will sit down the all the stakeholders and work towards effective policies and solutions to address this persistent problem.

Ron George:  My running mate,ShelleyAloi, served as the Vice Chair of the Chesapeake Bay and water Resources and Policy Committee for the Greater Washington Area Council of Governments where she worked with elected officials from across the Mid-Atlantic to come up with solutions for our environmental challenges. The biggest thing we can do right away is dredge the Conowingo Dam where massive levels of nitrogen and phosphorus sediments have built up and are at risk of being flushed into the Bay if another massive storm comes through Maryland. I have worked and will continue to work towards finding free market solutions to our environmental and energy needs that preserve Maryland’s natural beauty and ecosystems.

Larry Hogan:  Restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers and streams that feed it is the most pressing environmental issue in Maryland. Protecting the Bay from excessive sediment starts with fighting for Maryland: There are only five miles of Susquehanna River in Maryland between the Conowingo Dam and the Pennsylvania border, yet the current Administration in Annapolis has done virtually nothing to push back against the federal government when it comes to a solution to the sediment flowing into the Bay from New York and Pennsylvania. Only by pushing back against the EPA can we make sure that we are not bearing a disproportionate burden for Susquehanna runoff and pollution. In addition, it is vital that Exelon Power and the Army Corp of Engineers adequately maintain the upstream sediment ponds they built but have neglected. I would also explore economically viable ways to dredge the sediment holding ponds upstream of the Conowingo Dam to minimize sediment flows that have, among other things, destroyed oyster fishing above the Bay Bridge and prevent a possible catastrophic release of sediments into the Bay.

Charles Lollar:  We all want clean air and clean water, and as Governor I will pro-actively work with farmers, County leaders and neighboring governors, to ensure that we take effective action against the actual sources of pollution in the Bay: the enormous sludge cesspool from the Conowingo Dam on the border of Cecil and Harford Counties that kills marine life in the Chesapeake. I will also use my powers as Governor to ensure that the power company operating the dam complies with clean water requirements, something the current administration – and the Harford County executive – have not down.

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3) The next governor will decide if Maryland allows companies to use hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas. What would you do to ensure it is done safely, if at all?

Anthony Brown:  I will not support the development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale unless we have a safe way to do it.  We will protect Western Maryland’s families, our environment, and our rural legacy as we pursue new energy opportunities, whether those opportunities include hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, wind power, solar or other sources. 

In 2013, we funded a $1.5 million study to fully examine all of the implications of natural gas hydraulic fracturing in order to determine whether it is right for Maryland. The study will examine: the risk of contamination of groundwater and surface water; the risks of contamination or negative impacts to water and other natural resources; the water resources required to support hydraulic fracturing activities; forest and habitat fragmentation and other environmental impacts; well spacing; greenhouse gas; best practices for all aspects of gas exploration and production; and other important factors. We will carefully consider the results of this study before we take any steps toward fracking. While the energy potential of the Marcellus Shale represents an enticing economic opportunity, we will not accept a process that jeopardizes our families or environment.

Doug Gansler:  I believe strongly that fracking should only come to Maryland if it can be done safely, without threatening human or environmental health. I am the only candidate in this race who has not just talked the talk of fracking safety but actually walked the walk. In 2011, when a fracking well blowout spilled fracking fluid into a tributary that feeds into the Susquehanna River, the source of nearly half of the Chesapeake Bay’s fresh water and the drinking water for roughly 6.2 million people, I went after the company responsible. As governor, I will continue to aggressively guard Maryland against the health and environmental risks from fracking, seeking input from public health and environmental leaders before allowing fracking to occur in Maryland. If science and public health data suggest fracking can occur here safely, I will ensure it is highly regulated, with clear protections for human and environmental health and strong enforcement.

Heather Mizeur:  I have led the charge to make sure that safety studies decide fracking’s future in Maryland—not corporate oil and gas interests. We cannot frack first and answer questions later, like our neighboring states who rushed forward to disastrous results: livestock falling over dead, contaminated drinking water, and huge spikes in earthquakes. Second chances are really expensive—we have to get this right the first time. We must demand to know what the impact would be on our natural resources, on our health, on our local economies before we make a decision on whether or not to drill. That is why I have proposed an 18-month legislative review period to ensure ongoing safety studies have the time, funding, and public input necessary to properly inform our choices. The Sierra Club has endorsed the Mizeur-Coates ticket because they trust our Administration to make the right call.

David Craig:  First of all, I believe Maryland needs to be competitive in Nation and International Gas Market. Once again we have unilaterally acted without the consent and the cooperation of our neighboring states. These actions have handicapped Maryland business and as well as Maryland land owners. I believe fracturing can be done in an effect and environmentally safe manner.  I will work with state agencies as well as private stakeholders to find the best practices for fracturing and will implement them in a safe and efficient manner.

Ron George:  I have studied the horrific action taken in Pennsylvania and elsewhere where drilling was rushed and known safer methods were not used. That method has been improved upon. I will absolutely not move ahead unless it is safe.

Larry Hogan:  Western Maryland is blessed with an enormous amount of cleaner burning natural gas and we need an all of the above approach to energy. I am concerned that there has been a knee-jerk reaction against affordable energy production in our state. Maryland is definitely behind the curve because this administration has decided to politicize the issue rather than take a balanced approach to ensuring we have access to clean and affordable energy sources to power our homes and businesses and grow our economy. 

States throughout the country including our neighbors develop their natural gas resources safely and efficiently. Many of these states are realizing an economic boom through gas and oil exploration and are working in concert with groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council to harness these vast resources of domestic energy in an environmentally sensitive way.

Charles Lollar:  Absolutely. It is absurd for Maryland to abandon the Marcellus Shale to companies operating out of Pennsylvania, so they can tap into our natural resources and reap all the benefits. Many states have effectively regulated hydraulic fracturing to ensure it is environmentally safe. Maryland can and – under my administration – will do the same.

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4) While the state’s bio-tech and life sciences fields have been growing, the number of middle-class jobs available to people without college degrees has been shrinking rapidly. What would you do to create jobs that allow Marylanders without a college degree to support a family?

Anthony Brown:  Investments in workforce training and infrastructure will create and attract good family-supporting jobs in Maryland. This includes building roads and bridges, tunnels and rail, but also affordable housing and broadband, clean water and new energy sources, schools and libraries. In 2013, we introduced the Employment Advancement Right Now Initiative (EARN), a workforce training program aimed at addressing the needs of both employers and job seekers. Through EARN, we are able to focus on the needs of a range of industries and address those needs through targeted training programs. I supported the passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act and Public Private Partnership Act, which are expected to create over 13,000 jobs and have allowed us to generate over $4.4 billion for projects across the State, including the investment needed to build the Red Line and expand MARC Service.

These projects will connect Marylanders to jobs and help Baltimore City and County attract new residents and businesses. But we can always do more to prepare Maryland’s workforce and place Marylanders into good-paying jobs. We will create jobs for more Marylanders by:

  1. Committing $100 million annually to expand Career and Technology Education (CTE), with a goal of graduating 3,000 more students with both a high school diploma and a certificate or license that allows them to enter high-demand careers;
  2. Piloting the Workforce Intermediary Center, which will adapt a proven nationwide strategy to coordinate, upskill and connect businesses and worker to jobs;
  3. Piloting two Maryland Youth Apprenticeship Academies specifically designed to provide youth and young adults with concrete skills, guidance and knowledge both outside of the daily classroom and during the summer in order to prepare them for challenging careers;
  4. Increasing funding for EARN by $2 million annually; and Increasing our investment in school construction from $340 million to $500 million by FY2019; and
  5. Increasing development of affordable housing through a $20 million annual investment in the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust.

Doug Gansler:  I have a bold plan to improve opportunities for young Marylanders without college degrees to train for skilled, family-sustaining jobs through substantial career and technological apprenticeships. Under this plan, 16-year-old high school students can get hands-on training in high-demand jobs while earning high school credits so that, when they graduate, they will have not only a high school diploma but also a certificate of completion that serves as a recognizable credential in that job field. You can learn more about this proposal here

For mid-career workers without college degrees, I have proposed several measures to help them find work that can support their families. I was the first gubernatorial candidate to call for an increase in the minimum wage, and the only candidate to propose serious state investment in skilled manufacturing and remanufacturing jobs that do not require a college degree but that pay quite well.

Heather Mizeur:  It continues to get harder and harder for those without a college degree to reach the middle class. Higher education cannot— and should not—be the only pathway to success. But Maryland does not simply have a jobs problem—it has a skills problem. Our state will have over 500,000 jobs available between now and 2020 that do not require a college degree. Employers are struggling to find workers who have the right skills. As governor, I will double our state’s job training funding so we can get unemployed Marylanders the skills they need to fill those jobs. We also have over 5,000 adults waiting for a chance to earn their GED, but the O’Malley-Brown administration has failed to fully fund adult education services. I will provide the funding necessary to make sure everyone has that opportunity. We will work to align our school curriculum with the market-based job opportunities being generated by Maryland’s economy. I will also make vocational, career, and technical education a bigger part of our high schools. Those who choose not to attend college should still have the tools to succeed, compete, and thrive in the middle class.

David Craig:  It is my belief that in order to provide environment for job creation we must cut the corporate income tax in half and work towards the elimination of the income tax. Yes, we can eliminate the income tax. We can do so by reigning in spending. Government must live within it's means. Regarding an educated workforce-this is critical our economic well being. I believe that Community Colleges are essential to the continuing educational needs of the workforce. I will fully fund community colleges statewide as I have done in Harford County as I have done with our community college.

Ron George:  I am a successful business owner precisely because I opted to learn a trade (goldsmith and jewelry design), which I used later to work my way through college. My economic development plan is focused specifically on creating a private sector tax base comprised of entry and mid-level manufacturing jobs across the state as well as import/export businesses in Baltimore. Maryland is currently ranked 50th in the country for new capital-intensive manufacturing firms and 46th for labor-intensive manufacturing firms. We must make Maryland a place where companies can relocate and expand while still having money to spend on new employees.

Larry Hogan:  The first step to creating good paying jobs is to reverse the policies that have put thousands of small businesses out of work and forced 6,500 to leave for lower cost states. 

Today, there are well paying jobs, including many in advanced manufacturing, that go unfilled because jobs seekers and recent graduates all too often lack the required skills. As governor I would require that our state-funded educational institutions equip students and displaced workers with the skills in demand in today’s marketplace. Currently, there is rampant mismanagement and redundancy in state-funded training programs and too little connection between the skills taught and those sought by employers. The Hogan-Rutherford Administration will audit all state-funded job training programs and bring large and small employers to the table early in the training process to make sure these programs match real-world opportunities. 

It is critical that we make our state affordable for lower income residents this requires us to work together to lower the onerous O’Malley-Brown tax hikes on struggling families, the unemployed and seniors on fixed incomes. We simply must roll back the highly regressive tax increases so hard-working Marylanders can keep more of what they earn.

Charles Lollar:  First and foremost, we will phase out the personal income tax over five years, a program that will spur an economic boom in Maryland at all levels of society. Next, for young people who do not want to go to college, I have outlined an innovative program to bring private businesses into high schools, especially in economically disadvantaged areas such as Baltimore City, so they can partner with local high schools to provide apprenticeships and on-the-job training for our young people.

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5) The state finds itself again with a structural deficit. How will you address the state’s structural deficit?

Anthony Brown:  Over the last seven years, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has made tough decisions to bring Maryland through the recession while at the same time protecting our priorities of public education, public safety, creating jobs and protecting and growing the middle class. By working together, we have maintained our AAA bond rating, nearly eliminated our structural deficit, submitted a budget every year within affordability guidelines, and regained 100% of the jobs lost during the recession. We have accomplished this by a balanced approach to budgeting, including enhancing revenues and reducing expenditures. Today, state government is the smallest it has been per capita in over 30 years. 

I do not see the need to raise revenues in the foreseeable future. As Governor, I will work with stakeholders to achieve a balanced budget, fund our shared priorities - including public safety and education - and strengthen Maryland’s economy.

Doug Gansler:  I am the only candidate in this race to propose any plan to tackle Maryland’s persistent and crippling structural deficit. Our structural deficit persists because our current administration keeps spending more than it is taking in, then balances the budget on the backs of taxpayers through increased taxes and fees and more state debt. This approach is simply unsustainable – and unfair. 

I have put forward a major plan to reduce the structural deficit and change our approach to state spending. It involves five components:

  1. spending within our means,
  2. improving government performance,
  3. better investing our tax dollars,
  4. making sure corporations pay their fair share through closing corporate tax loopholes, and
  5. maximizing federal funding. 

You can read details of my plan – which would save the state $1.5 billion – here.

Heather Mizeur:  There is no more important job of the Governor than writing a responsible state budget. Budgets are about priorities—it is important to not only address our structural deficit, but also address it without placing a higher burden on the middle class. Our budget decisions must ultimately come down to asking the wealthiest and most powerful amongst us to pay their fair share, while giving the rest of us some much-needed relief. I have been the candidate willing to propose the revenue-generators necessary to propose fiscally responsible budgets: instituting a millionaire’s tax, closing tax loopholes that only benefit big corporations and special interests, and taxing legalized and regulated marijuana purchases. I have also proposed significant savings in our criminal justice system by focusing more on violent criminals over nonviolent offenders. How you campaign is how you are going to govern, and I have shown fiscal responsibility in my campaign proposals.

David Craig:  I will cut spending by 3% across the board. By doing so we will manage the growth of Government there by reducing it's cost. This is will lead to surpluses instead of deficits.

Ron George:  Three things create and add to our “structural” deficit:

  1. The Spending Affordability Commission always puts forth a rosier economic forecast picture than what actually will happen. I will make sure we take a conservative approach in predicting economic growth.
  2. Robbing dedicated funds and backfilling it with bond bills. The debt service on bond bills alone is reaching over $1 billion per year. I will stop the taking of dedicated funds.
  3. Many bills have fiscal notes that are greater in the out years. This helps them to pass but binds our hands in out years. I will out a cap of fiscal notes unless an emergency is before us.

Larry Hogan:  The first step in eliminating the O’Malley-Brown administration’s $400 million structural deficit is to act on the dozens of official audits detailing more than $1.75 billion in improper spending and even outright fraud in the Executive Branch. It is unconscionable that the current administration chose to loot state workers’ pension funds, gut the Transportation Trust Fund, and hiked taxes 40 times rather than simply act on these cost saving and management recommendations. These $1.75 billion in savings are just the tip of the iceberg and don’t even include the audits of the nearly $13 billion Maryland receives annually from the federal government which also found widespread accounting failures, nor do the audits include the estimated $300 million wasted on the failed Health Exchange.
These audits reveal that critical funding for the disabled, education, child protection, the environment, public safety and other priorities was wasted through sheer incompetence or fraud. In fact, according to many of the audits, most state agencies lacked basic controls on spending cash, use of government purchase cards and personal use of tax-payer owned vehicles. 

The good news is that this isn't wishful thinking about magically increasing government efficiency; these audits comprise hundreds of pages of actual instances of waste and mismanagement and the simple steps required to prevent further losses. Acting on these audits will help to eliminate the structural deficit and free up funding to lower the tax burden on residents and employers.

Charles Lollar:  We have to stop robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the O’Malley-Brown administration has done over the past seven years. They inherited a balanced budget, and a budget surplus of $1 billion in 2007. Now we have a massive deficit, and a state employees’  pension fund that they have raided repeatedly, to the point of endangering the promise made by successive generations of political leaders to teachers and other state employees. I will immediately work to put the state employee pension fund on sound economic footing by bringing in outside actuarires who have done this in other states. And we will keep state spending to cost-of-living, by putting an end to cronyism and political payoffs.

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