GOP legislative hopefuls, Sauerbrey sign tax pledge CAMPAIGN 1994

October 05, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

In an unusual display of party unity, nearly a hundred Republican candidates for the state legislature joined gubernatorial nominee Ellen R. Sauerbrey in Annapolis yesterday to pledge allegiance to the gospel of tax cuts and fiscal conservatism.

Mrs. Sauerbrey and 96 legislative candidates signed a five-point "contract with Maryland" that would cut income taxes, require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes and shift construction spending from so-called "pork" projects to schools and prisons.

"We're going to cut the size of state government and give it back to the taxpayers," Mrs. Sauerbrey declared.

The GOP statement echoed a similar "contract" on national issues released by Republicans in Congress last week, an exercise now being repeated in other states.

In their only departure from fiscal matters, the Maryland Republicans called for a ban on gifts -- including meals -- from lobbyists to legislators or their staffs.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parris N. Glendening criticized Mrs. Sauerbrey's tax and spending plans again yesterday, although he said through a spokesman that he supports the ban on gifts from lobbyists.

Mr. Glendening, who sent an aide to monitor the enemy event outside the State House, predicted that his opponent's proposed tax cuts would increase property taxes or hurt services.

The Glendening camp also highlighted Mrs. Sauerbrey's long-standing opposition to abortion and gun control, two issues that were nowhere to be found in the Maryland Republicans' contract.

"Those aren't party issues," said Carol Arscott, a spokeswoman for the group of about 10 incumbent Republican legislators that came up with the contract. "Those are cultural and regional issues."

The platform would add a constitutional limit to growth in state government, linking it to growth in the state's economy. The Republicans also called for requiring a two-thirds vote in both house of the General Assembly to raise either income or sales taxes.

"It should be an extraordinary act for government to take money from its people," said Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll.

Both measures would require constitutional amendments that would have to be approved by the voters.

Republicans said they were thrilled that more than two-thirds of the party's legislative candidates turned out to sign the contract.

"It's probably more Republican candidates than I've ever seen in one place," said Del. Robert H. Kittleman, R-Howard. "Everybody senses it's a Republican year and they want to be a part of it."

Republicans currently are outnumbered 38-9 in the state Senate and 116-25 in the House of Delegates.

Joyce L. Terhes, state GOP chairwoman, said she expects the Republicans to pick up about five Senate seats and 15 to 18 seats in the House.

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