Don't spend budget surplus, give it backI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Don't spend budget surplus, give it back

I want to elaborate on my opposition to Gov. Parris N. Glendening's agenda as addressed in his State of the State speech delivered in the Maryland General Assembly.

First, I think it is important that we recognize that each of his proposals is attached to the state budget.

The governor's initiatives will require a spending plan that increases Maryland's debt by more than $600 million.

This increase in debt includes a $150 million increase in general obligations in fiscal 2001 and a $450 million increase in transportation debt during the next three years. Unfortunately for taxpayers, Mr. Glendening is trying to disguise the overall increase in debt by discussing only the one-time expenditure projects. However, the fact remains that our debt still is increasing dramatically while Maryland enjoys an unheralded surplus of nearly $1 billion.

It is a sad commentary on this state's affairs when the governor's agenda -- which includes such things as smart codes, smart growth, and smart guns --does not include any smart tax relief. During his address, returning money to taxpayers was never mentioned. Rather, we heard of affording every student a college education via tax dollars.

The citizens should be getting this surplus back. Let us put the money in the banks of our choice to send our children to the colleges we choose.

Instead of giving taxpayers' money to Beretta Corporation for researching smart gun technology, we should place it in the budget and pay for the mandates imposed on farmers who have to comply with nutrient management regulations.

There is no excuse for not giving the surplus back to the taxpayers. I will not hail an agenda that will result in the budget exceeding spending affordability.

In this time of fortune, I find it just plain gluttony to be spending to create "new and improved" give-away programs.

Delegate Carmen Amedori State Legislative District 5 Carroll County

Don't punish law-abiding gun owners

Our governor has done it again. On Jan. 29 the overtly liberal Parris N. Glendening had the audacity to insult law-abiding gun owners of the "Free State."

CBS News aired a story about the Carroll County Republicans' auction of a Berretta 9mm handgun.

How dare Mr. Glendening call it irresponsible and a travesty that a perfectly legal firearm was raffled to a law-abiding citizen.

Like Maryland doesn't have enough of an image problem without our governor insulting its citizens on national television.

The last I heard the right to bear arms does still exist in this country. Although, I know Mr. Glendening would rather have a totalitarian society with no private gun ownership.

That's why our forefathers had the smarts to write the Second Amendment. But Mr. Glendening is more intelligent than they were. That's why he and his cohorts blame our gun violence problems on an inanimate object instead of the criminals themselves.

I for one am tired of being told that I'm a bad person because I choose to protect myself and my family the way I see fit. In response to this, I have learned that you can't trust a Democrat once they're in office.

God Help America!

Thomas G. Atkins

Baltimore

Who's right for school board?

It has become apparent to me that a position on the Board of Education requires a significant amount of time. For a board member to do the job correctly and not be a rubber stamp, they need to attend board meetings, be in schools, go to public meetings, meet with town officials, attend seminars, attend PTA meetings, meet with the commissioners and legislators, spend time in Annapolis, etc. The list seems endless.

Therefore as voters we need to determine which candidates have the energy, ability, desire and time to do such a demanding job.

One candidate whom I have had the good fortune to work with the past five years is Steve Nevin.

Steve is involved in his community. He serves as an appointed member of the Carroll County Recreation & Parks Advisory Board. Steve first got involved with the Sandymount Recreation Council before his children even participated in any council programs and has been the councils treasurer for the last four years.

He currently runs the council's basketball program and participates as a coach and volunteer referee. Steve also coaches in the councils soccer program and provided a basketball camp last summer. Steve helped to establish a $500 annual Sandymount Recreation Council college expense scholarship.

Steve is also involved in his children's education by volunteering in both of his daughters' schools on a regular basis. He has made surprise appearances at teacher retirement parties and been very involved in Sandymount's field day each spring (all at the request of teachers in the school).

He has served the Sandymount teachers in his tuxedo during the teacher appreciation luncheons as a way to honor their great work. This past December Steve was invited by the Principal at North Carroll High School to participate in their "Shadow a teacher" program.

Steve is also a member of the Finksburg Area Planning Council and attends the monthly meetings updating the council on any school issues. Steve also works on the Carroll Lutheran Village Charity Golf Tournament Committee helping to raise funds for and the awareness of the great work done at the village.

Steve now has a desire to serve the citizens of Carroll County in a greater capacity and I know that he will be an excellent member on the school board. With his past history what else could I expect.

Jody Ledford

Finksburg

The writer is community coordinator of the Sandymount Recreation Council.

Preserve farmland, Support farmers

Thank you Tom Horton for your column "Preserving farmland and farms" (Jan. 28) acknowledging the efforts of former Governor Harry R. Hughes and the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology.

Some environmentalists have lobbied for the Northeast Dairy Compact and for fairer federal milk price standards, so far without success. Even considering raw-milk price fluctuations, small farmers have suffered from prices that benefit processors more than farmer-producers. Increased regulation prompted by massive concentrated livestock operations has also impacted small-scale farmers. Two bills before the Maryland Legislature seek to help small farmers: HB 294, the Small Farm Protection Loan Program and HB 293, the Interim Protection Act.

Consumers may pay five times more for milk products than what farmers receive. For farmers to receive a fair share, milk prices do not have to increase. But if we want to preserve farmland, we have to support farmers.

In Carroll County, Preserve Rural Carroll formed to advocate for farm preservation and initiated an appeal of the Rash farm rezoning decision. Without state funds, an equitable settlement for the Rash brothers and preservation of the farm seems unlikely. If the Rash farm is developed, farming is finished in South Carroll and endangered in any areas that allow spot rezoning.

Greg Becker

Westminster

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