Doug Rosenfeld says: "TOGETHER WE CAN RESTORE MONTGOMERY'S PROMISE"
Under County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County has lost its way. At a time when we need fiscal restraint, Ike Leggett continues to fund the County's most expensive-ever public program, his so-called "Smart Growth Initiative." While he focused on this half-a-billion-dollar optional spending program, our County's deficit ballooned to $1 billion and our AAA bond rating was jeopardized. It took $150 million in new taxes, and some deep but temporary spending cuts, to close that budget gap this year. But deficits will continue for years to come, and Ike Leggett has done nothing to restructure government to address this reality.
Under Ike Leggett, our County also has lost sight of its priorities. Nothing is free, and Ike Leggett's single-minded pursuit of his "Smart Growth Initiative" has come at a high cost to core needs: transportation, education and public safety. He spent $54 million of transportation funds on a new liquor warehouse. He diverted $76.3 million from public education to fund an unnecessary public safety headquarters. And he delayed the construction of police and fire stations to "make room" in the County's capital budget for these and other "Smart Growth Initiative" projects.
Under Ike Leggett, our County has failed to attract the private industry that is key to our future. While Ike Leggett focuses on shuffling County employees between facilities under his "Smart Growth Initiative," the County's economic development efforts languish. Businesses large and small have passed our County by, or have pulled up stakes and left. By helping to create an anti-business environment in the County, and failing to put forth a comprehensive vision for our County's economic future, Ike Leggett has left us in an economic development no-man's-land. We're stuck in the mud with no tow truck in sight.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We must change course. First, we must get our fiscal house in order. To do this, we must stop spending money on the "Smart Growth Initiative," an optional and unnecessary program that we cannot afford. At the same time, we must do what Ike Leggett should have been doing these past four years: find ways to deliver core services more effectively and efficiently. Second, we must reaffirm our commitment to developing transportation infrastructure to get people moving. Third, we must recommit ourselves to ensuring that our public school system is second to none. Fourth, we need to establish a regulatory and tax structure at both the County and State levels that businesses will regard as "business friendly." We must do all of this. We must do it at the same time. And we must do it now, in order to attract the industry we need to deepen our tax base and give homeowners some much-needed tax relief. It is time to help ourselves by helping each other. It is time to RESTORE MONTGOMERY's PROMISE.