Candidates for the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegaters were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Sentences: In what cases, if any, would you support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences? Do you feel Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders? Please explain.
Spending: In which areas of government should the state spend more money or less? Please be specific.
Legislation: Give three examples of legislation you intend to propose.
Stewart Bainum Jr. (D), 36, of 912 Thayer Ave., Silver Spring, has been a member of the House of Delegates since 1979, where he serves on the Ways and Means and the Joint Audit and Budget committees. He holds a master's degree in business administration and is vice chairman of Quality Inns and Manor Care Inc.
Sentences: (a) Mandatory sentencing is a useful tool in some cases, but it should not be considered a panacea for all the ills of the court and corrections systems. There are several other methods (e.g., limitations on plea bargaining) of improving these systems. There are cases in which the advantages of mandatory sentencing (research shows the biggest deterrent to crime is the certainty of punishment) outweigh the disadvantages (the tremendous cost, further strain on our already overcrowded prisons). In 1982, I cosponsored legislation requiring mandatory sentencing for illegal handgun possession and supported legislation requiring mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders. (b) Juvenile offenders should be separated, whenever possible, from all adult offenders. Although it would involve a substantial monetary commitment, I believe that maximum security facility for juveniles may be a good idea and certainly warrants further study.
Spending: I believe Maryland should spend less by (a) eliminating special corporate tax breaks, and (b) improving management of the state's assets. If Maryland spends less in these areas, the state can spend more for social services and education. Toward these goals, I have proposed several bills and strongly supported other legislation. These measures were passed by the Maryland House, but killed in the Senate. Many of the tax breaks Maryland extends to corporations are unfair and wasteful because they play an insignificant role in business investment decisions. Maryland's corporate income tax typically represents only about one-third of one percent of total corporate expenses. I also have worked to decrease Maryland spending by improving state cash management. My abandoned property bill saved the state over $12 million, permitting greater support of our community colleges.
Legislation: 1) I intend to continue my work on probate reform, windfall profits tax on oil companies and decoupling the state's tax system from the federal tax system. 2) I will reintroduce my bill to simplify, expedite and reduce the cost of settling an estate. In 1982, probate reform legislation was given a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee and was passed by the House for the first time in the six years that this bill has been introduced. 3) I will also reintroduced my bill on windfall profits tax. This bill would discontinued the practice whereby oil companies deduct their federal windfall profits tax payment from their taxable state income, thus saving the state about $20 million over the next five years. 4) Finally, I will continue my work to protect the state Treasury from the effects of recent federal tax legislation by decoupling the state corporate income tax system from the federal tax system.
Stephen R. Leventhal (R), 39, of 12108 Kerwood Rd., Silver Spring, is an attorney in private practice. A former computer analyst and high school science teacher, he has taught computer science and real property law at college level. Active in community affairs, he has been a Girl Scout coordinator, president of PTA and a voting precinct chairman.
Sentences: I support mandatory prison sentences for perpetrators of violent crimes, for drug dealers and for drunk drivers. Both the prison system and the parole system in Maryland are in need of reform. Additionally, the state should establish minimum standards for county jails. The state is as much in need of minimum security facilities as maximum security facilities. This includes juvenile as well as adult offenders. The parole system should be modified to distinguish between violent and nonviolent criminals, as well as first and repeat offenders.
Spending: Given even a modest rate of inflation and the New Federalism, it is unrealistic to consider reducing state programs significantly. What is necessary is the enactment of sunset legislation for both programs and funds in order to keep tight control on expenditures.
Legislation: 1) Delegates should run from single-member districts to put an end to the at-large seats which dilute minority voting rights.2) State legislation to eliminate zoning by fiat and to abolish practices which have resulted in increased new home expenses, transfer development rights and higher residential densities in areas such as Silver Spring and Takoma Park. 3) Require in residential eviction cases that there be at least one attempt at personal service of tenants before court papers can be tacked on the door.