Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor of Maryland were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Crime: If elected, what legislation would you propose and what administrative steps would you take to combat crime?
Programs: The Reagan administration has begun a major shift of federal programs to the states. What shifts, if any, do you favor and which do you oppose? Please explain.
Taxes: Would you commit your administration to not increasing taxes next year? Are there any state taxes you would try to eliminate?
Transit: If the federal government eliminates or further reduces funding for mass transit, what should the state do to continue operation and construction of the Washington Metro and the Baltimore subway?
Robert A. Pascal is the county executive of Anne Arundel County. A 48-year-old Republican businessman, Pascal was first elected as county executive in 1974 and was reelected in 1978. He served as a state senator for four years and was elected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention. He is a former All-American football player at Duke University and played professional football in Canada. He lives at 364 White Cedar La., Severna Park.
Crime: First, I would appropriate funds to construct the additional medium maximum security prison recommended by the governor's committee. I would use prefabricated facilities until prison space, planned and under construction, is completed. Crime control must begin wth the juvenile offender. Where possible, we must rehabilitate; where it is not possible, we must take the delinquent out of the community. For the juvenile who can be rehabilitated, I propose to establish statewide many of the programs that operate successfully in Anne Arundel County. For example, we have a juvenile restitution program to make young offenders responsible for their crimes through payment of restitution to the victim. Our Career Center takes the adjudicated delinquent off the street and helps him complete his high school education, learn job skills and work habits. Ninety-nine percent of the center's graduates have become employed or continued their education. Not one has been arrested for crime.
Programs: My quarrel is not with the number and type of the 30 federally funded programs being shifted to the states in exchange for the federal government assuming full responsibility for the fast growing Medicaid program. My quarrel is with the funding of these programs. The proposed federal swap of programs is severely out of balance. The states are going to come out several billion dollars short on the trade-off. Maryland will be several million dollars short. I have always believed that the states can do a more effective job of administering social programs. However, I am quite apprehensive that under the New Federalism, there will be a greater disparity between the quality of service and programs provided among the various states.
Taxes: Yes, I will commit my administration to not increasing taxes next year. I will seek to repeal the part of the gas tax increase that goes into effect in 1984 and automatically adds a one cent increase to the state gas tax once the wholesale per gallon price of gas rises to $1.35, and one cent each year thereafter for every additional 10-cent increase in the wholesale price. I am absolutely opposed to automatic taxes hitched to inflation. If the state needs a tax increase, the governor and each member of the General Assembly should stand up and be counted on the matter.
Transit: The current federal administration is committed to continued funding for construction of those mass transit projects already underway. Based on my reading of the mood of Congress, I do not believe we face the imminent withdrawal of substantial amounts of operating assistance, as has been reported in the press. David Wagner, head of the State Mass Transit Administration, has stated he believes the federal government will "remain a capital (expenditure) partner" in the rapid transit system. Even if Congress approves a withdrawal of operating funds, it will be phased out over a number of years and announced in time to give the state and local jurisdiction adequate time to make appropriate plans.