Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Democrat, Maryland House of Delegates District 15

State delegates face tough choices in statehouse this year

Members of the Maryland House of State Delegates are gearing up to face a variety of issues when the legislature convenes January 11, including the budget, marriage equality, the gas tax, education funding, the billionaire tax, the flush tax, the death penalty and healthcare.

Anne R. Kaiser, District 14 – “The number one issue is the budget and not only making sure that we make responsible cuts, but that we continue to provide key services for education, support for the developmental disability communities, early childhood education and whole array of good programs.  I think the education financing issue of the maintenance of effort and that’s what I’ll be working on as the education sub-committee chair, but that’s an important issue for our county is making sure the state commitment to education is matched by the counties and the counties have keep up and maintain their funding.  I think that will be a very big issue this year.”

Eric G. Luedtke, District 14 – “It’s going to be a busy year.  I think there are a lot of issues we’re going to have to deal with.  I think for the state as a whole, the most important issue is going to be taxes and revenues.  We have to find a way to continue paying for central programs that we’re going to have to keep in mind that every tax increase is a challenge for people.    The gas tax proposal is going to be very difficult because it’s a very unpopular tax, but one that is clearly necessary if we want our economy and our state to grow.  Marriage equality I think will continue to be another big issue.  I’m hopeful that we’ll get it this year.  I think the people of the state are ahead of the legislature in openness to legalizing marriage equality.”

Craig J. Zucker, District 14 – “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, what I’m going to be working on and my colleagues will be working on is continuing to balance the budget, which we’re constantly mandated to do, and find ways to cut down on future structural deficit.  We have another big issue and it’s kind of unfinished business, which is to pass marriage equality in the State of Maryland.  I think solving the structural deficit without cutting too much.  Obviously anything that we do that involves fixing the structural deficit and cutting the deficit in half, you’re talking about an impact on real hardworking families and one of the things we’re going to try to do is to obviously have a balanced approach and make sure Maryland continues to be a leader in the nation of maintaining its AAA bond rating and ensuring that we still have the number one schools in the nation.”

Kathleen M. Dumais, District 15 – “The most important issue is always the budget.  I think much of our time will be spent, given the structural deficit, we’ve got to address the economy and the reduction.  I think the most difficult will be whether or not we can pass a gas tax, what additional cuts we may or may not have to do, including whether or not there’s any shift in teacher pensions from the state to the county, which I keep hearing rumors that that’s going to be on the table.  But again we’re doing what everyone’s doing, trying to provide necessary services while trying to have a balanced budget.”

Aruna Miller, District 15 – “I think one of the most important is the opportunity to create jobs and I’m also trying to cut back spending and at the same time create greater amount of revenue for the state of Maryland.  I think we need to have revenue generated in order to be able to create jobs.  I think the most difficult thing will be the idea of bringing in greater revenues because this is a difficult time as far as the recession goes and to be able to ask individual taxpayers to contribute more so that we can provide greater services is a difficult thing.  But, that’s all on the legislature’s mind.”

Luiz R. S. Simmons, District 17 – “I would think if the governor proposes an increase in the gas tax that I would be disinclined to support it unless there was a constitutional guarantee that the new money raised by the gas tax would go into kind of a lock box only being spent on mass transit, roads and bridges and other transportation purpose.  People who pay the tax expecting that the money would go into roads and bridges have found that the money has gone towards other things.  I don’t think you’ll see the gas tax increase unless you see that guarantee that the gas tax won’t be used for other things.”

Benjamin F. Kramer, District 19 – “I think the general consensus is, in regards to fiscal policy, we will be looking at some tax proposals.  The ones that seems to be gaining the most traction is the gasoline tax and the flush tax, which is dedicated to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.  With regards to social policy issues, I think the policy that seems to be getting the most attention is going to be civil marriage and there’s a push to move that forward this year with the governor getting in and supporting the initiative.  The governor will also be pushing his initiative to construct off shore wind so that will be back this year and it will receive a decent amount of attention.

Tom Hucker, District 20 – “The issue that affects the most people is going to be the budget.  One of the most difficult will be passing the marriage equality bill.  That will get a lot of attention and we need to get more votes in the house.  We’re working hard to turn around a few of our colleagues, but it’s certainly going to be difficult and emotional and long overdue to get rid of discrimination.  There will certainly be a push to raise the gas tax, but we also need to extend the billionaire’s tax and we need to make sure that international companies are paying their fair share of taxes for the state of Maryland, the same as small businesses and families too.”

Kirill Reznik, District 39 – “I don’t think they’re going to be that much different than what we’ve had in the past few years.  Obviously the budget is going to be the top concern.  We still have a structural deficit, thankfully smaller than what we’ve had in the past.  We’re going to be looking at some extensions of that, including education funding, which has always been one of our top priorities and we’ll continue to focus on.  Transportation funding will be another huge issue, how do we pay for our state’s transportation priorities?  Going along with that will be the proposed gas tax.  On the social side we’re going to be dealing with marriage equality and some other controversial things.  I’m sure the death penalty will come up again, which I know the governor is still a huge proponent of.  We’re going to be looking to implement the healthcare exchanges that are required by the federal healthcare reform bill and dealing with issues of funding for developmental disabilities and mental health.”

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