Problems Facing the Next Governor

September 18, 1994

Before Democrat Parris Glendening and Republican Ellen Sauerbrey get too deeply into their sound-bite campaigns for governor, they have an obligation to tell voters where they stand on critical problems confronting this state. Not in 30-second responses, or in political charges and counter-charges, but in detailed discussions.

The two candidates are poles apart on many matters: Mr. Glendening is a mainstream Democrat; Mrs. Sauerbrey is a staunchly conservative Republican. They view government quite differently -- Mrs. Sauerbrey believes in minimal intrusion, Mr. Glendening favors an activist role to solve problems. These philosophic differences will determine how the two address the most pressing situations for Maryland's next governor:

* Balancing the budget. A cumulative gap of between $500 million and $1 billion looms on the horizon. What specifics will the two candidates champion to bring long-term spending into line with revenues? Both want to downsize government, but how? Mr. Glendening seeks to cut certain business taxes as an economic development incentive; Mrs. Sauerbrey seeks to cut income taxes by 24 percent. How is any of that possible given the state's precarious fiscal situation?

* Improving education. Will the two candidates support the reforms put in place by education secretary Nancy Grasmick? Mrs. Sauerbrey favors privatizing much of education through school vouchers and charter schools. Mr. Glendening talks of infusing higher education with more money and upgrading support for the public schools, especially in poor areas. Is either candidate talking sense? We'd like to hear in-depth explanations as to how they would achieve their education goals.

* Transportation. Within a few years, Maryland will run out of funds to pay for new roads or mass transit lines. Neither candidate is very clear on what to do to avoid this. At the same time, demand for new transit alternatives is growing. We'd like to hear from Mr. Glendening and Mrs. Sauerbrey on this topic.

* Economic development. Ridding Maryland of its anti-business reputation is paramount in order to attract new jobs. We need specifics from the two candidates -- and a price tag for their plans.

* Baltimore City. A deteriorating Baltimore hurts the entire state. It drains precious funds from Annapolis. It discourages business investment throughout Maryland. Helping the city regain its economic well-being is essential. What program does Mrs. Sauerbrey have in mind? How about Mr. Glendening? Not just a Band-aid approach, but a long-term proposal to assist an impoverished city whose well-being is essential to Maryland.

No bromides, please. We want these two admitted policy wonks to deal in harsh facts and figures. Voters deserve such a discussion. Let's have a campaign of issues, not slogans.

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