Cumberland Times-News

March 11, 2014

Gansler talks jobs during Western Maryland tour

Attorney general a Democratic gubernatorial candidate

Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Douglas Gansler, Maryland attorney general and candidate for governor, visited Cumberland on Monday during a swing through Western Maryland promoting his new 30-point jobs program.

“Jobs are our number one issue. We have a real need,” said Gansler.

Gansler introduced the jobs program, dubbed “Fighting for You: Jobs for All Maryland,” on Feb. 27 surrounded by supporters on Baltimore’s waterfront. Behind Gansler stood the now shuttered Bethlehem Steel plant that employed more than 30,000 workers at its height.

On Monday, Gansler made stops in Frederick, Hagerstown and Cumberland. While in Cumberland, he stopped by the offices of the Times-News for an interview.

“My view is that when you run for governor, you run to be the governor for the whole state and not just the central part,” said Gansler.

One of the features of Gansler’s jobs plan is to form a governor’s business recruitment council to target and recruit businesses to Maryland. The council would be made up of top business leaders from across Maryland.

“We need to go out and recruit companies. We need to ask them: What do you need to come to Cumberland?” said Gansler.

Another feature of the jobs plan is to discount in-state tuition for high-demand jobs. For occupations in life sciences and cyber security as well as nursing, Gansler wants tax incentives that would reduce tuition in those fields of study.

“We have people coming from out of state to fill the jobs. We need to create an incentive for people to go into those fields,” he said.

Gansler, 51, a Democrat who makes his home in Bethesda, said Marylanders can’t afford more administration policies of Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is also a gubernatorial candidate.

“If you look at Virginia, they have a billion dollar rainy day fund; we have a billion dollar deficit in Annapolis year after year,” he said.

Gansler said the budget in Maryland has gone from $30 billion to $39 billion under the O’Malley/Brown administration.

The budget increases are done without a plan in place to fund the expenditures, according to Gansler.

“They are taking from things they are not suppose to to pay for it,” he said.

Gansler referred to the state’s past use of monies from the Transportation Trust Fund and the Bay Fund to pay for budget shortfalls.

Maryland is losing it’s competitive edge, Gansler said.

He wants to reduce the corporate tax rate by a quarter percent each year for nine years until it is in line with Virginia’s rate.

“We are getting our clocks cleaned by neighboring states. The tax burden is breaking the backs of Marylanders,” he said.

Gansler said reducing the corporate tax will help companies stay in Maryland.

Reinvigorating Maryland’s manufacturing industry is another priority for Gansler. His jobs plan includes grants to help small and mid-sized businesses expand exports.

Gansler said 70 percent of the products sold in the world are sold outside the Unites States.

He said Maryland needs to make better use of its deep-water port, international (BWI) airport, and connecting highways.

“Right now Kentucky has more export dollars than we do. We are not exporting anywhere near our capacity,” he said.

Given its location as a crossroads, Gansler said Maryland has natural advantages and is in a unique position.

“We need to have more distribution and assembly centers here,” he said.

Gansler said the current administration has not helped Western Maryland and Cumberland enough.

“It’s a beautiful place to be. It’s really dying on the vine and it shouldn’t be and it doesn’t need to be,” he said.

For more information about Gansler and his jobs program, visit DougGansler.com and click jobs.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.