Republican Executive Candidate Makes His Case
The major issues in this race for county executive are taxes, jobs, education, and growth. I would like to explain my vision on each of these issues.
Taxes and Jobs
Taxes and spending are a major difference between Jan Gardner and me. I am a fiscally conservative Republican who believes in lower taxes and limited government, while Mrs. Gardner is a liberal O’Malley Democrat with a record of voting to raise taxes over 33 times and recklessly increasing spending.
If elected county executive, I want to continue to expand the senior citizens property tax credit until the income limit for those eligible to participate in the program reaches a gross household income of $100,000. We recently expanded it to $70,000. My goal as county executive is to have Frederick County be the friendliest county in the state for seniors to live in. In addition, I will work to keep property taxes low for all homeowners.
Working with the county council, I will continue to work to bring more jobs to Frederick County. I am proud to say that since January 2011, the Frederick County unemployment rate has dropped from 6.9 percent to 5.6 percent and the number of unemployed has fallen by over 2,000. This was done by cutting or eliminating over 260 taxes and fees, getting spending under control, and eliminating job-killing regulations.
We eliminated a number of nuisance taxes and fees like those on the installation of dishwashers, garbage disposals, hot water heaters; and we mailed $100 rebate checks to all taxpayers when we had a surplus.
Mrs. Gardner, by contrast, has never met a tax increase she didn’t like. She voted for increased property and income taxes and refuses to say where she stands on the “rain tax.” Is there any doubt the “rain tax” will be her 34th tax increase?
I am very proud of our school system as we rank No. 1 in the state and my two sons currently attend Frederick County Public Schools. Under my leadership, the Board of County Commissioners has increased education funding, and I will continue to propose to the Board of Education that we increase pay for starting teachers, a proposal opposed by the Frederick County Teachers Association.
Teachers have received two step increases, one-time bonuses, cost-of-living increases and an additional $125 to offset health care costs. As we continue to get our budget under control from the spending mess I inherited from Mrs. Gardner, I will continue to advocate for higher starting teacher salaries.
I am proud to say we have increased funding for education by over $16.7 million. Of that, $5.7 million was above the maintenance of effort (MOE) standard, meaning we invested above and beyond what was required by law.
We invested $4.7 million in improved technology in our schools. This has enabled the school system to reach the goal of having every school equipped with wireless Internet. Online learning enables our children to have the skills needed to succeed in the workforce.
The current total school system capacity is at 88 percent. One of the reasons we are significantly under capacity is because this Board of County Commissioners made school construction its top priority. We approved a record $34.5 million in repairs to aging schools.
Growth planning is a major difference between Mrs. Gardner and me. During her time in office, she mismanaged both the budget and growth.
Despite her anti-developer rhetoric, 2,329 residential building permits (county/non-city of Frederick) were issued under the Gardner Board (2007-2010). This compares to the 1,751 permits issued under the Young Board (2011 through July 31, 2014).
This means that 578 less homes were built under my watch to date.
Mrs. Gardner is attempting to mislead voters with a typical O’Malley/Obama Democrat campaign. Her attacks that I voted to give money to developers are a flat out lie. I have never voted to give one dime to developers.
While Mrs. Gardner did not slow the pace of overall residential development, she did, however, go after a select number of individuals and down-zoned their properties. A perfect example is the Ingram property in the Jefferson area. The Ingrams had a couple of residential lots they had been paying property taxes on for many years. They planned to sell those lots for retirement income. Mrs. Gardner, after taking over as the president of the Board of County Commissioners, suddenly down-zoned the property, which would have – in part – robbed them of retirement income.
Mrs. Gardner did not slow the pace of residential growth. She did, however, employ the full force of the county against a couple of politically unconnected individuals like the Ingrams.
When I came into office, I restored the property rights to many of these individuals who sought redress. We were able to do this while effectively managing growth.
In part, thanks to our effective growth planning and increased school construction funding, we have reduced school capacity from where it was under Mrs. Gardner. For the first time we actually have a plan moving forward.
This is an important election for the future of Frederick County. Are we going to continue to be a successful Red County in a Blue state, where taxes and unemployment are low? By electing Jan Gardner we would be bringing a return of the liberal tax-and-spend fiscal policies of Martin O’Malley to Winchester Hall.
In order to keep Frederick County on the right track, I would greatly appreciate your vote for county executive on November 4th.