Candidates for state Senate and House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Industry: What plans do you have to attract new industry to the state and to help those now unemployed?
Reaganomics: What parts of the Reagan economic program do you support or oppose?
Laurence Levitan (D), (Incumbent) 48, of 11426 Georgetowne Dr., Potomac, a tax attorney, has served in the state Senate since 1970; he chairs the Budget Committee. He was the first chairman of the Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds, which guided investments for the state.
Industry: The Legislature, and particularly the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, which I chair, has been most responsive to the efforts of the Department of Economic and Community Development employment picture. I point with pride to the following legislation enacted over the last four-year period: Elimination of sales and use tax on manufacturing equipment and machinery; financial assistance for industrial and commercial redevelopment; Maryland Industrial Land Act; tax increment financing; Small Business Development Authority; enterprise zones; small issue industrial revenue bonds. A combination of the above has encouraged industry to locate in Maryland and redevelop areas, such as the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. This not only expands our tax base, but provides employment. I am particularly proud to have been named the Outstanding Public Official in 1981 by the Maryland State Chamber of Commerce.
Reaganomics: I support the efforts made to reduce the size and increase the efficiency of government. We have undertaken similar steps to do the same for state government. I also support the transferral of various programs, via block grant, to the states. I do not, however, support the transferral of these programs without adequate funding, which appears to be the rule, rather than the exception. The National Conference of State Legislators has appointed a negotiating team to make certain that the doctrine of New Federalism is not a one-sided transfer of responsibility, and that when the federal government assumes the cost of Medicaid, it provides sufficient dollars to allow the states to fund those programs transferred to them. While we all hoped the trickle-down theory would work, it is a pparent that high interest rates have held back our economic recovery. Steps must be taken to reduce interest rates so tax incentives now in place will spear our economic recovery.
Crime: The state, and particularly the state legislature, has been very concerned with the crime problem. This past session, we allocated a major portion of the capital budget to build new prisons. Our own studies have shown that criminals were released to roam the streets and victimize our citizens because there were early releases, improper classifications and too few prison beds. We have strenghtened our mandatory sentencing for use of a handgun in the commission of a crime, and have enacted one of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country. We have a tough, mandatory 25-year sentence for three- time losers. To assist the victims of crime, we have established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and the last session enacted legislation requiring the preparation of a Victim Impact Statement, which the court must consider in sentencing. The legislature must continue to enact laws to keep the criminal element off the street, and at the same time provide rehabilitation for those who show promise. We must attempt to correct environmental conditions that start our young citizens on a life of crime.
Anthony P. Puca (D), 34, of 9432 Bethany Place, Gaithersburg, is president of American Business Services. A director of the Maryland Small Business Coalition, he has been a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Cancer Society, and he is active in Democratic Party activities.
Industry: While I'm in favor of attracting new industry to Maryland, I believe it is equally important to help the growth of small business in our state. Small business provides close to 70 percent of our country's employment and tax revenue, yet our state, like many others, does very little to promote its growth or help it. I would sponsor legislation to create a small business administration in the state to assist small business with low-interest loans and other assistance. This will help provide our state with employment and additional tax revenues. Small business does not require the large capital expenditures nor threaten the environment like many major industries do, and it lends immediate solutions to our employment problems. I believe that high interest rates are the major deterrent to small business, and I will continue my fight against eliminating bank interest rate ceilings.
Reaganomics: I am opposed to the Reagan tax reform act that allows companies to buy and sell investment tax credits, and believe Maryland should decouple its state law from the federal law as most other states have. This alone would add $250 million dollars in much needed revenue to the state over the next five years. While I am opposed to the block grants, I believe it is important for the Montgomery County Legislators to work as hard as they can to get our fair share of these dollars back to our county. I oppose the cutting of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, handicapped programs and will work to maintain them. The answer to these problems is money, and I believe a system that taxes all segments of our society fairly will provide these funds.
Crime: I firmly believe that mandatory sentencing is the most important answer we have. This acts not only as a deterrent, but also allows us to remove the repeat offenders from the streets. I believe the increase of violent crime is also connected to the economy, and recognize the need to find work for our unemployed. But even with a complete social and criminal program, we owe a protection to the law-abiding citizen who is best served by keeping the offender off the streets.