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?
Amend: Should the state amend its constitution to limit taxes or spending?
Crime: What proposals would you support to address the crime problem?
Gerard F. Devlin (D), (Incumbent) 49, of 2505 Kitmore La., Bowie, a member of the House of Delegates since 1975, is vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and a member of the Maryland delegation to the Southern Legislative Conference. He is an attorney and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Industry: I have introduced legislation to remove the 2 percent tax on manufacturing equipment which passed in 1979. I have supported the establishment of enterprise zones to attract industry to areas of high unemployment. I have urged the funding of the venture capital fund. I supported the establishment of the fund to provide state aid to acquire industrial sites. I have as part of the fiscal leadership of our state kept Maryland's AAA bond rating.
Reaganomics: I support the block grant concept which would permit the states to deliver social programs. I oppose the cutting of revenue sources to assume the burdens of 'The New Federalism." Inevitably, the Reagan administration has placed a terrible burden on the lowest economic group, the elderly and the handicapped.
Amend: Our state has had a balanced budget requirement for generations, which in itself mandates a fiscal restraint missing at the federal level. I support the establishment of the "Affordability Committee" which must report each Nov. 1 on proposed state spending as it relates to the growth of the state's economy.
Crime: I have supported the construction of a maximum security penal facility as well as bond issues for detention centers in the subdivisions. I have sponsored legislation to increase penalties, provide more money through the police aid formula, and for more judges. I have strongly supported programs to improve parole and probation functions to prevent recidivism and to move unveniles away from the crime scene.
James W. Hubbard (D), 34, of 12303 Rolling Hill La., Bowie, was the assistant sheriff of Prince George's County before resigning to campaign full time. He has been chairman of the county Commission for Women and president of the Family Crisis Center, and active in other civic and law enforcement groups.
Industry: Protecting existing jobs and creating new ones is a major commitment of mine. In still competition with other states, Maryland must continue to offer innovative tax incentives designed to attract new businesses and expand existing ones, such as creation of foreign trade zones and the issuance of industrial revenue bonds that provide low-interest money to businesses and yet do not place a financial obligation on taxpayers or government. Maryland is in an attractive geographical location and the benefits of expanding or relocating in the state must be widely promoted. Being strategically located in the Washington-New York corridor, Maryland should be one of the hubs of East Coast commerce. A greater commitment must be made, however, to job retraining and to education. We need more continuing education and job training programs to assist the unemployed and underemployed. These programs will help to demonstrate to businesses that Maryland has a work force to meet their needs.
Reaganomics: I disagree with the Reagan economic "program" which has produced hugh budget deficits, left interest rates at unacceptably high levels, given large tax breaks to the very rich, and created record unemployment. Reaganomics has not produced the desired results and, in the meantime, our country and state are falling into a deeper and deeper recession. Unemployment often has devastating personal and psychological effects. High unemployment has a domino effect because unemployed workers are not able to purchase goods and services which, in turn, create jobs for others. Part of the economic program includes a "new federalism," but this is a cruel hoax on the taxpayers. While claiming to transfer programs in the form of block grants from the federal government to the states, funding for these programs is being drastically cut, and the states will now be forced to find their own funding sources. I support the Democratic alternative proposed in Congress.
Amend: I strongly believe that senators and delegates are elected to represent all the people and are entrusted to legislate in the best interests of the people. A constitutional limit on taxes or spending would inhibit the functioning of state government and the carrying out of its role of ensuring that the legitimate needs of all the people are met. Maryland has historically been in very good financial condition with an excellent bond rating, and this reflects, in part, the care the General Assembly has taken in annually reviewing and adopting a state budget. Some other states have been known for hugh deficits or bloated treasuries. This has simply not been the case in Maryland.
Crime: Crime is one of the most serious problems facing our state. The General Assembly can help the criminal justice system by: 1) mandating stiffer sentences; 2) reorganizing the penal system and reevaluating the rehabilitation process; 3) ensuring an adequate number of judges; 4) expanding prison capacity and improving prison environments; and 5) funding our educational system fully.
Lawrence E. Keval (D), 44, of 12632 Millstream Dr., Bowie, is a private investigator and realtor associate, and a former member of the D.C. Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. He is an economics graduate of the University of Cincinnati and of the University of Maryland's paralegal program.
Industry: I plan to attract new industry to Maryland by offering tax incentives and an accelerated depreciation on capital investment. I would also initiate a vigorous campaign to convince new industry of the advantages of relocating or expanding their operations to the Free State.
Reaganomics: I oppose President Regan's budget cuts because they have adversely affected over a half million Marylanders by shifting tax burdens from the federal to state and local governments. These cuts have added 2.2 million more Americans to the rolls of those living at or below the poverty line. The president's economic problems have only deepened the current recession and caused record business failures. This type of leadership is unquestionably unacceptable.
Amend: Maryland should amend its constitution to limit spending in an attempt to achieve a balanced budget, but I wouldn't limit the state's ability to tax. To do this would restrict the ability of the state to fund human need programs.
Crime: I would support streamlining the original justice system to rid ourselves of our "revolving door" system of justice for perpetrators of violent crime. Moreover, I would propose the establishment of a state bureau of investigation similar to those which exist in Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa and California. This bureau would be under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general's office and would concentrate their enforcement efforts on major narcotic traffickers and perpetrators of "white collar" crime.
Joan B. Pitkin (D), (Incumbent) 50, of 12005 Long Ridge La., Bowie, has been a delegate to the General Assembly since 1979. She was the cofounder of the Belaire Cooperative Nursery School. A former director of the Bowie Health Center, she is active in various health, cultural, youth and civic organizations.
Industry: Any measure that improves an area's standard of living will attract industrial development and thus create new jobs. Industry can only be attracted to Maryland if we have appealing communities, and this can only be accomplished by ensuring that that there are adequate services such as improved transportation facilities so that companies can get their goods to market and receive raw materials, funding better public safety programs and police for protection from crime, and also, perhaps, finding a program to provide adequate housing opportunities. All of this also entails keeping the environment safe by attracting non- polluting, high-technology industries and revitalizing existing businesses, especially those in older communities. Baltimore's Mayor William Donald Schaefer has started to accomplish this there and it can be done all over the State of Maryland. In Prince George's County, in Bowie, and elsewhere around the state, "Free-Trade Zones" have been developed and these, too, will attract new industry.
Reaganomics: Although I believe that a government close to the people is the best kind of government, Mr. Reagan's economic program and plan to shift the burden of service from the federal to state level is not equitable and is ridiculous in its simple-mindedness. Even though federal programs are mired in bureaucracy, and it sounds good to many people to "Let the folks back home decide" where our taxes should go and what services should be funded because "they should know better," this simply is not the way it happens. States like Maryland may do a good job of distributing federal funds to the most needed programs and services, but other states may not. We in Maryland must be careful in this distribution, so that we do not react to the "squeaky wheel" groups that are the most vocal, ignoring the needs of citizens served by programs without large, vocal constituencies.
Amend: I believe that an inflexible, simplistic "cap" on taxes such as what was done with TRIM has not been found workabel after four years. It did not take into consideration either the rising cost of living or the fact that the economy would not "freeze" the way we would like it to. One possible way to keep individual income and residential property taxes reasonably in line would be a tier tax on commercial, investment, and business property. This idea should be looked at closely and not just sloughed off as "unworkable" as some policitians now do. As for spending, I frankly believe that the existing state constitution provides for a balanced budget and that this is a sufficient limit on spending. However, I would not be adverse to further study of alternative methods for limiting spending such as closer inspection and controls on existing programs and "sunset" provisions placed on new ones.
Cimre: Eighty to ninety percent of crime is perpetrated by repeat offenders. This problem must be met with legislation such as mandatory sentencing, especially for all handgun offenses, and reform of bail bond criteria. Most criminal behavior starts at an early age. However, juvenile justice usually gets short shrift when it comes to funding. This must be changed if we are to stop the rising crime rate. In Bowie and other parts of my district, juvenile crime is among the highest in police statistics. We must improve Maryland's correctional system. It is more costly in the long run to simply warehouse convicted felons (at over $20,000 per prisoner a year) than to fund in-prison and community based rehabilitation and victim restitution programs. Finally, we must remember that police are people, too. Too often they are taken for granted or shunned where there should be cooperation and trust. Police should have their own "bill of rights" so that they can be members of the community and not the societal outcasts they feel they are. Neighborhood Watch and patrol car ride-along programs in which both police and average citizens participate can help foster cooperation.
Charles J. Ryan (D), (Incumbent) 45, of 3007 Bendix La., Bowie, is an instructor at Prince George's Community College who was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1978. He served as an aide to former senator Edmund Muskie, of Maine, and has been active in the county and state Democratic Party affairs for several years.
Industry: I support the innovative programs of the Maryland Department of Economic and Community Development, such as Tax Increment Financing, and the revitalization of the Port of Baltimore and BWI (airport) as means of attracting new business to Maryland. Business seeking to locate in Maryland should be provided with tax and financing benefits to induce them to move to Maryland. The University of Maryland Research Park should be expediously developed and the graduate programs at the University of Maryland should be upgraded to provide both a research capability and a pool of talent for new business. Those unemployed as a result of the recession should receive extended unemployment benefits while seeking new employment. The community colleges should develop vocational programs and provide increased career counseling in conjunction with local Chambers of Commerce to retain those who have lost jobs and direct them to new areas of employment.
Reaganomics: I welcome the concept of returning to the states responsibility for programs previously run by the federal government. Specifically, the greater flexibility in allocating funds through the federal block grant programs, because they give more responsibility to state governments to address and solve local problems. I support the reduction of federal regulations as they apply to state programs. I strongly oppose the wholesale elimination or significant reduction in social programs without consultation with state and local officials. Federal budget reductions in a time of national recession have had a dramatic effect on state governments. The ability of the state of Maryland to react to increased unemployment, reduction in student federal assistance, reductions in aid to handicapped, and changes in environmental regulations is limited. A more incremental approach to the New Federalism of Reaganomics would insure that state governments had adequate time and resources to address the problems.
Amend: No. The state should not amend its constitution to limit taxes and spending. Maryland is one of five states with triple-A bond rating and has demonstrated fiscal restraint in both its operating and capital budgets. In addition, the New Federalism of Reaganomics is placing new pressures on the state government to react to new federal programs and budget reductions. To place an arbitrary cap on state spending, when the state constitution already required an annual balanced budget, would further restrict the ability of the state to respond to the needs of the state whether it be in funding education, construction of new prisons, or maintenance of roads.
Crime: In the 1982 session of the legislature, significant funds were appropriated for the construction of new prison facilities and renovation of old ones. These facilities, when completed, should be adequate to handle the prison population. Within the prisons a more thorough prisoner classification system must be adopted and a more stringent parole policy should also be adopted to insure that individuals dangerous to society are not released from prisons. We should also increase the number of sitting judges to reduce both the backlog in criminal cases and to reduce the practice of plea bargaining. Moreover, mandatory sentences for those committing crimes with a gun should be strengthened. Additional state and county police should be hired, trained and put on the street, and police personnel should be adequately paid. A major study of juvenile crime and responses to it should be undertaken by the state and the Juvenile Services Administration.