Issues

Anne Arundel County has a choice. It can invest our tax dollars in a race to attract more people, or it can put our people, businesses, and communities first.

MANAGING GROWTH

Developers love Anne Arundel county. They want a 2019 General Development Plan (GDP) that will authorize rezoning for higher density and open new land for construction.

Our county executive wrote in his October 26 campaign fundraising letter that our county is “growing by leaps and bounds,” and that we must “continue with a pro-growth agenda.”

Every community in this county made clear in their Small Area Plans that they want carefully managed growth, infrastructure improvements, and preservation of natural resources. None want to grow by leaps and bounds.

When I take office in January 2019, the planning department will be working on the first draft of the GDP. The success of our campaign will have sent a clear signal that the document must reflect the visions of our communities. 

The plan that we approve will shift priorities to infrastructure improvements, resource conservation, and community benefit.  It will create a consistent set of rules for developers to follow and a Community Planning Commission to facilitate developer-community collaboration.

 

TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN

By shifting the focus away from competition for growth, we can serve the businesses, the communities, and the people of our county.

Our first duty is educating our people for the jobs that local businesses need filled. That means working as allies rather than adversaries with our school system and community college. We need to attract and keep the best teachers, and that means increasing their pay to the levels of neighboring counties.

Public safety demands grow with our population. We have fewer sworn police officers than we had when the current county executive was sworn in. We are under 700 and need to be over 800. We have a plan but it has not been implemented. Our firefighters are underpaid and understaffed. Steve Schuh rejected a federal grant that would have paid for 50 new positions to punish the firefighters for their win in contract arbitration.

Many of the jobs in our county pay less far less than what it costs to live here. Rent, child care, utilities, health insurance, transportation, and food consume paychecks way too early in the month. Life becomes a series of crises that only get noticed by politicians when the result is drug addiction or crime. My administration will convene business owners, social service providers, and policy experts to explore ways to reduce poverty in our county. And then we will act.

Local businesses are the gears that keep our communities moving. The best intentions of government bureaucrats too often kill entrepreneurship with regulations that have no public benefit. I led campaigns to free farmers from regulatory over-reach and look forward as county executive to promoting similar reforms in other sectors.

 

FISCAL DISCIPLINE

On November 6, the county executive celebrated passing his $36 million tax break for the developers of the hotel and convention center at Live! Casino. It was only the most recent fiscally irresponsible gift to a developer who needed no incentive to build.

Development can be a cost or a benefit to taxpayers and county government. We will conduct an audit to evaluate the fiscal impact of recent projects and use that data to plan for fiscally responsible growth.

We have a backlog of over $1 billion in transportation, school, police, fire, and other essential service infrastructure left by politicians who budget for the present and not for the future. That creates a balanced budget today and a structural deficit tomorrow.

As county executive I will invite communities to engage in the budget process from the beginning, and provide communities with the data they need to make informed choices through a user-friendly online portal.

I will protect not only the taxpayers of today, but also the taxpayers of tomorrow.

By Authority of Friends of Steuart Pittman, VIrginia Clagett Treasurer
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