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?
Michael J. Alfieri (D), 27, of 900 Pocahontas Dr., Fort Washington, employed by Prince George's County in fire department communications, has been active 12 years in the Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department and has served as vice president and a member of the board of directors. He also is a member of Citizen's Choice, a national lobbying group.
Industry: After I got into office I would need more information on the subject before I could make these decisions.
Reagonomics: I believe that spending has and can become a problem. And it is does have to be cut and analyzed very closely.
Amend: If the state would do this it should limit spending.
Crime: I would study the situations and see the worst areas and concentrate the efforts there. I believe in a strong police force that should be maintained and updated as much as needed.
Charles S. Blumenthal (D), 58, of 519 Barrymore Dr., Oxon Hill, a former civil engineer, was elected to the House in 1970. He has contributed to the enactment of legislation for veterans, the Equal Rights Amendment, rent control, clean water, property tax reform, access to public information and workmen's compensation.
Industry: It is important that we fund the innovative programs developed by our Department of Economic Development which are designed to attract new employment opportunities for the people of our state. I intend to offer legislation that would increase the unemployment benefits for those who have become jobless. My proposal would raise maximum benefits to 75 percent of the average weekly wage, not to exceed 90 percent of the claimant's average weekly wage.
Reaganomics: I am supportative of that part of the president's Federalism program which would transfer the responsibilities for determining funding Prlorities to the states. I am opposed to the reduction in federal funding. If the president is willing to give the states the responsibility he should also provide the necessary funds to carry out those responsibilities.
Amend: At this time state taxes and total budgetary consideration are not excessive. However, should they reach a point where they will become a burden on our taxpayers then we must consider the proper use of formularized limitations controlling affordable levels of spending and tax limits. Should the legislature present a constitutional amendment that would place these limitations upon our state government it will require the approval of the voters before it can take effect. After a great deal of public debate I have faith that an informed electorate will either reject a severe limitation or approve a modest and logical control.
Crime: I would support: 1) mandatory sentencing for felonies committed with the use of a firearm; 2) tougher penalties for rape and assault; 3) additional funding to build required penal institutions; 4) additional funding for police and public safety organizations; 5) additional funding for prosecutorial staffs and circuit court facilities, and 6) tighter restrictions on early release of convicted felons.
Frank J. Komenda (D), (Incumbent) 47, of 3509 Leslie Ave., Temple Hills, has been a member of the state Senate since January 1982. A small businessman for 20 years, he also served in the House of Delegates from 1975-1981, where he chaired the Joint Committee on Economic Development and subcommittees on unemployment insurance and interest rates.
Industry: To support those policies which encourage a healthy economic climate in our state which, while attracting new industry to locate here, gives due concern to those businesses already here. Proper concern must be given to consumer and environmental considerations with care they are not so restrictive as to remove Maryland from a competitive position with our sister states for the attraction and retention of businesses. A proper balance must be maintained to provide adequate employee benefits so as to utilize one of our state's greatest resources -- its skilled and adequate labor force. We must continue our efforts to establish and maintain appropriate standards for environmental protection. Due consideration must be given to the delicate balance of protection of the environment and economic development for the protection and creation of jobs. The private sector must accept a role of responsibility for the environment with the encouragement of government.
Reaganomics: I believe the Reagan economic program has some appropriate goals, including lowering interest rates and the reduction of waste and growth in government. However, I feel the methods employed are improper to achieve them. Inflation remains double-digit, consumer prices are up and unemployment continues to rise. The "trickle down theory" might have been an appropriate tool of the distant. Now, business is not reinvesting benefits received from government in capital improvements which result in protecting or creating jobs. Rather, these benefits are being used to reduce cash-flow problems or are being invested in high yield, no-risk paper investments. I believe a better approach would be the targeting of benefits to those which create jobs or provide stimulation to the economy. I have strong reservations about New Federalism and block grants. States will be required to assume programs traditionally administered and funded by the federal government. In Maryland, this means assuming the responsibility for new programs while suffering a loss of about $250 million in federal money to fund them. Sadly, the majority of those programs affected are human services, education, health, public safety, etc.
Amend: I do not believe a constitutional amendment is the appropriate vehicle to limit taxes or spending. Rather, the debt affordability legislation passed in the 1982 session of the General Assembly, which provides protection against runaway spending while at the time providing flexibility for adjustment to economic conditions, seems a more appropriate approach. The experience of other states and their resultant budget deficits, losses of services to citizens and damage to bond rating, lends support to my position. Maryland is one of few states still able to retain a high bond rating, keep the budget in the black and maintain an appropriate level of services for its citizens.
Crime: The juvenile justice system, presently under study by the General Assembly, is one of the best deterrents to present juvenile crime and as a deterrent for the future. Lenient release of persons charged in crime must be addressed by our judiciary. Adequate accommodations for incarceration with improved rehabilitation programs for those under sentence must be provided. Sufficient funds must be provided to Law enforcement agencies. Public awareness and information programs should be expanded. Our courts and judges must be provided the proper tools by the legislature to provide a ppropriate sentences for the guilty while maintaining an awareness of the rights and protections of the innocent. Additional benefits and assistance should be provided for the victims of crimes.