Candidates 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?
Industry: I envision a three-pronged approach. Adequate unemployment and welfare benefits, far-sighted programs to train and retrain both new and displaced workers and aggressive efforts to attract new industry. Examples of this policy include the summoning of the General Assembly into special session to deal with the federal cutoff of extended benefits by providing an additional 13 weeks of state financed benefits; the prodding of Congress to restore federally financed extended benefits; the charge to a special gubernatorial task force to place our training and retraining programs into a single agency so as to improve and better coordinate our efforts; the continuation of a commitment that last year led 400 companies to expend $1.19 billion to build new or expanded plants in Maryland (of the thousand of jobs created, my administration has been directly involved in creating 14,400); and increased emphasis on attracting high-technology industries.
Reagonomics: It is difficult to discern what the Reagan economic program is. The largest tax cut in U.S. history is about to be followed by the largest peacetime increase. My problems with New Federalism arise because it shifts some programs to the states when it seems obvious that national standards are required. It seems equally apparent that should such shifts occur, there will be insufficient federal tax sources released to the states to adequately finance them. And while I welcome the flexibility associated with block grants, the federal funding cuts have been far greater than anticipated, requiring either a drastic cutback in programs or a commitment of state resources. I cannot accept the Reagan strategy that a deficit should be eliminated and inflation controlled by tolerating dramatically high unemployment, imposing dramatic cuts in human services and embracing tax policies that benefit the comparatively wealthy at the expense of the poor.
Amend: I have opposed amending the Maryland Constitution to include spending limitations and those states which do have such constitutional provisions are encountering substantial fiscal difficulties. The limitations do not belong in the instrument that prescribes the fundamental organization of a state government. I believe that a state's elected representatives can function in a responsible fashion to tailor spending programs to perceived needs and anticipated revenues. There is a need for flexibility so that arbitrary limits do not preclude a prompt response to exigencies of the moment. Cutbacks in federal spending for domestic programs, dramatic court decisions impacting state expenditures on education, prison facilities or other programs may require an infusion of dollars. Yet that response would not be forthcoming because of the spending limit reg requirement. In Maryland, the constitutional amendment for a balanced budget, a strong executive budget process and a diligent General Assembly has clearly precluded the need for arbitrary limits.
Crime: I would continue to place emphasis on improvements in the criminal justice system, actively supporting state and local police departments (from fiscal 1979 to fiscal 1983, state aid to local police departments increased from $67 million to $74.4 million). This year, state troopers in Maryland received pay increases exceeding 17 percent. These actions will enable Maryland to continue to improve its first line of defense against crime. My administration will continue to provide the required capacity in our penal institutions. This year, we committed $88 million in capital funds for prisons; 1,400 beds will result from present construction programs, and 500 more are planned. Locally, with state assitance, since 1979, 857 beds were completed, 216 are under construction and 1,069 are being designed. We need to continue developing effective programs to deflect individuals from crime and to provide additional resources in the Juvenile Services Administration, particularly for repeat offenders.
J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D), 51, of 5203 Springlake Way, Baltimore, a lawyer, has served in the State Senate for 20 years and previously was a member of the state House of Delegates for four years.
Industry: To attract new industry, Maryland should have and maintain a skilled and unskilled work force. Education curriculum should be reviewed to determine if we are keeping pace with the needs of both business and labor. We should continue with substantial support to our port facilities, rail facilities and highway system. Our labor laws, workmen's compensation laws and unemployment benefit laws should be amended from time to time with input from labor and industry. The unemployed worker should be maintained with high benefits, and the public school systems should offer training and retraining opportunities with particular emphasis on attracting the older displaced worker to offer learning opportunities to permit reentry into a more technological work force.
Reaganomics: There is nothing in the federal program which I have seen as of this time which may be laudatory. Under President Reagan there has been a reduction in human services, day care, foster care, services to the elderly andproductive services. A restrictive policy for public assistance has eliminated critical medical assistance programs and food stamp programs available to the working poor. There was a cutback in the Public Service Employment Training Act which offered desperately needed child placement services and retraining services to the unemployed. The president's policies have shown little or no regard for the poor or needy. Fortunately, Gov. Hughes, through the general fund, has been able to offer relief from Reagan's cuts. I am in disagreement with the emphasis on military and defense spending as opposed to spending for human needs and services.
Amend: I would oppose a constitutional limit on taxes or spending. Based on my long service in the Maryland General Assembly, I am confident that the legislature is better able to assess the needs and priorities on a selected basis and need not to be constrained by artificial limitations on spending. Maryland has a balanced budget system, and we have been able to tailor our spending priorities to the income produced through revenue services.
Crime: I support maintenance ofpolice aid formulas that give state fiscal assistance to county and local police departments. I also support the continued development of our penal institutions keeping pace with the projections of need. The Department of Corrections is the agency within the criminal justice system that retains control over the inmate for the longest period of time, and yet we have seen the inability to redirect prisoner life styles. There must be among younger prisoners an emphasis on punishment and the opportunity to obtain skills which will be useful upon discharge and also counseling, both emotionally and educationally. There should be initiated at the federal level, with close cooperation in all 50 states an all-out "War on Drugs." My experience in Annapolis convinces me that abuse of drugs and the ease with which they are obtained is a major contributing factor to our crime problem. Maryland has had some success in its crackdown on drunken drivers, and we can and should follow up with a major assault on those who deal in drugs.