We must strive to provide the needed and desired services that Marylander's require in the most efficient manner possible. Recessions such as the one we are experiencing, while difficult, also provide an opportunity to re-evaluate and examine how we have been doing business. It is a time to prioritize and become more efficient.
We need to make every effort not to raise taxes. The burden has become so heavy that many of our residents and retirees have moved across state lines to avoid them. They have become a burden on our highways. commuting back and forth to jobs, relatives and friends. We need to have a competitive balance on taxes just as we do on other issues.
While it may be difficult at this time, I would like to look at scaling back or eliminating state taxes on seniors, perhaps, at age 70. They have worked and paid taxes all of their lives and, with reduced income, should deserve a break of some kind. This would only be on retirement income not on jobs where they are still gainfully employed.
While Mayor, I cut taxes multiple times. I believe that as we grow, we can broaden our tax base and improve on the way we manage government.
The downturn in the economy, and subsequent pressures on all levels of government, has revealed major inefficiencies. Some of them include:
* Staffing allocations
* Salaries and benefits of government workers
* Capital Improvement Programs that are not a priority or are misclassified
* Programs and projects that are not aligned with the core mission of government entities
In reviewing the state's budget, I expect to analyze all of the above. All staff positions must be justified on an annual basis. Salaries and benefits must be realigned to a level that is both affordable and sustainable. Capital Improvement Projects must meet stringent criteria prior to funding and implementation. Finally, government must make some difficult decisions about what issues are within the realm of its' mission and financial capability.
The balance sheet has two sides and expense reduction is not a viable long-term strategy. Economic Development is our best opportunity to grow the revenue side of the balance sheet. I have discussed this topic in another section.