AS GOVERNOR of Maryland, I will provide its citizens with leadership that is honest, consistent and puts principle ahead of politics.
I will work to change the culture in Annapolis and ensure that policy decisions are made with the public interest in mind, not just the needs of a cozy group of insiders whose only goal is to feather their own nests.
Before I discuss my plans for jump-starting Maryland's economic development, improving the schools and controlling crime, I want to state up front that I will enforce state laws on abortion and gun control. As I have said repeatedly, the people have spoken on these issues, and I respect and will uphold their wishes.
As a native of Baltimore, who attended its public schools, and a former public high school science teacher, I will make education my top priority as governor.
Our schools rank among the most crowded in the nation, with more than 40,000 students in portable classrooms. I will build schools, not stadiums.
I am going to ensure that children can read by the end of the first grade by promoting phonics as the primary tool for teaching children to read. Entering students would be evaluated for learning disabilities. Social promotions, where students are promoted without mastering a grade, will end.
I also will implement a "90-10 rule," giving 90 percent of new state education funds to the classrooms, not the bureaucracy. It is simply outrageous that despite spending an average of $6,500 a year per student, some of our kids don't have textbooks they can take home, and teachers are forced to use their own money to buy supplies. The 90-10 rule, combined with my plan to hire 1,000 additional teachers, should put an end to this embarrassment.
Even though the legislature passed a small 10-percent tax cut, Maryland still has the second highest per-capita personal income taxes in the country and record surpluses.
As governor, I will finish the job of cutting taxes by implementing the full 24-percent tax cut that I proposed in 1994. During the first phase, Maryland's unfair tax on senior citizens will be cut, for an average savings of $860 per year per retiree. Many of them move out of state and away from their children and grandchildren because they can't afford the high taxes here.
I'll also work to help our young families who have difficulty buying their first homes because Maryland's real-estate settlement taxes are the second-highest in the country. With lower taxes, Maryland would attract companies like IBM, Toshiba and Motorola, which have located in Virginia in the past four years, producing thousands of jobs. I will act as Maryland's chief cheerleader in recruiting businesses to our state.
I will also focus on getting rid of onerous, unnecessary regulations that hinder the success of businesses. One of my first appointments will be a regulation-buster, who will talk to business people, study regulations and target the bad ones for extinction. I will also instruct our government departments to help businesses comply with needed regulations.
As governor, I will put the safety of our citizens first. That is why I am going to implement a zero-tolerance policy against crime. Chronic violent juvenile offenders will be tried as adults and their fingerprints and criminal records will be made available to law enforcement agencies.
A call for inclusiveness
I will do my best to improve the lives of all Marylanders so that every person can reach his or her potential. My administration bTC will be inclusive and I will welcome the involvement of citizens from all of Maryland's diverse communities.
Above all, I will honor the trust that the citizens of Maryland placed in me, doing what's right, not what's expedient. I will restore integrity to the governor's office.
Ellen R. Sauerbrey is the Republican candidate for governor.
Pub Date: 10/29/98