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LIVE BLOG: Comptroller Peter Franchot Talks Fiscal Disipline at PHIA Meeting

The Perry Hall Improvement Association is back from summer recess.

Updates were recorded live during the meeting.

7:35 p.m.

The PHIA honored former Perry Hall manager Darcy Cahill.

"A lot of people can come in here and manage the library effectively and just go home, but Darcy did much more. She truly became a community leader ... You can take the library manager out of Perry Hall but you can't take the Perry Hall out of her," Dennis M. Robinson, Jr., president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, said.

Cahill received honors from Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Councilman David Marks.

"I really was just doing my job and have been so lucky to be here," Cahill said.

Marks reflected on Cahill's takeover during a "critical time for the library," the shift to a new location and construction. "She has done a spectacular job ... this branch shined ... it's the community center for Perry Hall."

Marks called her a friend and constituent, "an outstanding representative for the community."

She thanked them for the "tremendous honor" of serving here.

7:40 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. is another greening of Perry Hall trash pick-up at Joppa View Elementary, Robinson said. He encouraged community participation.

Sept. 22-23 is the Apple Festival at Chapel Hills Farm & Nursery. Robinson said it's going to be fun and relaxing.

Thursday, Oct. 18, there's going to be a happy hour at Liberatore's for the PHIA to reach out to new members.

A community garden is also in the works next to Rosedale Federal. Mark Patro is heading that.

Robinson wished Perry Hall Patch a happy 2nd birthday.

7:46 p.m.

Robinson updated members on the CZMP process where areas where rezoned.

Marks updated the membership on rezoning.

Marks said he was proactive, rather than reactive and wanted to reshape Perry Hall, which is why he supported widespread downzoning.

The council adopted 19 zoning changes in Perry Hall and White Marsh. He said it was largest change since 1997 under Vince Gardina. 

The council increased the development potential of 11 acres for commercial reasons.

All of the issues were included in a handout.

"Where I did increases was where I thought it made sense," one example was property near Bill's Seafood that needed to be upzoned to assist his business.

Marks said that open space zoning was most prevalent in Perry Hall, out of all the county's districts.

A woman asked about the lot between Forge and Belair Road and Honeygo. There is no tenant interested right now. Kohls is no longer interested. It is still approved for a retailer.

Someone asked about development on Chapel Road. Marks said that it's not going to turn into a highway, and the road will not be expanded.

Marks said the economy is very fragile so the amount of new homes in the area may be tentative.

Marks said resurfacing is on the way. He mentioned Perry Hall Square Shopping Center. He complimented Perry Hall High with their reaction to the shooting. He complimented the new superintendent.

7:57 p.m.

Marks complimented the comptroller on supporting air conditioning for schools and for bipartisanship in policies.

Robinson introduced the Franchot, calling him a fiscal watchdog and independent voice. He recognized him for working with businesses and leveling the playing field by closing tax loopholes. He is also a strong advocate for green technology.

The applause for him was loud.

"I'm so happy when I'm not introduced as your tax collector," he thanked Robinson for his reaction to the Perry Hall shooting, for supporting school safety.

He has been comptroller for 6 years, he complimented William Donald Schaefer, his predecessor.

He said he made one demand in his office, the only fireable offense was if you drag your feet in working with the public.

"You don't have to tell the public exactly what they want to hear ... you have to be responsive .... you have to be fair .... if we had more of that in state government and county government, the state would not have the disappointing business relationship we have."

"We have to stop those with a fascination that everything in government must be protected at all costs and the private sector is an afterthought ... we should be assisting the private sector genius."

"I'm not sure how Maryland got into this habit of treating the private sector like it's interrupting our lunch break."

He said that Maryland has comparative disadvantages to Virginia and that we are being held back by government policies.

He said we ranked almost "dead last" in private sector wage growth. He said it was almost negative.

"We've raised taxes on almost everything that moves in this state ... and it's all done with the well intentioned idea that we can just balance the budget with more taxes ... that results with softening our economy and a downward spiral."

8:06 p.m.

He talked about leadership and his army experience. His father fought in WWII and said it brought Americans together. But Franchot said that "can-do, roll up our sleeves, if it works, let's put it to use—that's missing."

He asked for a two year time-out on tax and fee increases ... "let's stop taking money out of citizen's pockets."

"Let's stop this rush to the ultra-liberal left and bring the state back to the center."

"Let's inject customer service into public employees ... they are here to serve the private sector."

"Let's honestly balance fiscal budgets .... we're paying Peter by robbing Paul."

8:11 p.m.

He opened it up to questions and thanked Marks and Robinson.

An attendee called him a Democrat who doesn't act like a Democrat, and asked about gambling investment.

"It certainly hasn't been what it was expected to be ... not yet in the black."

He asked community members to vote against the gambling referendum in November, which will reduce taxes for casinos.

He said small businesses should get tax decreases, not casinos. He said the special session was pulled together by out-of-staters.

He called it an act of political corruption.

"Who runs the state? I love my party, the Democratic party, but there's just a few people making decisions," he said.

He said taxes were raised for individuals and lowered for casinos ..."The current program doesn't work."

8:17 p.m.

An attendee asked about the end of the year fiscal cliff, and how it may impact Maryland.

He said that a national tax increase is not justified. "It's a mess, politics is a mess, everyone runs to hang onto our jobs by our fingernails ... we put out agendas that have very little to do rather than cling to our jobs ... the greatest generation didn't run for office in order to do that for the rest of our lives."

He said Maryland is in fiscal danger.

8:22 p.m.

A woman asked about how casinos would help schools.

Franchot said none of it would go toward schools, and casinos only benefit themselves. He said we already have plenty of casinos.

An attendee said he keeps a budget for his family, and asked if there could be a freeze on government worker pay raises.

Franchot said he supports a course for teaching kids how to budget. He said he is working toward accountability and honestly in the budget.

"The issue there is spending ... I'm a democrat ... I'm not against spending and government but think of health care ... according to the latest most influential report ... $750B of that money is wasted or harmful for people's health."

"My solution is to link arms and have a moratorium on tax increases and figure out how spending can be reduced and the product improved ... that's what we need and we've done it before. There's a common sense consensus for that."

"Take a time-out on social issues ... often they divide us ... I'm convinced that 90 percent of you ... one year of that, our economy would be booming," he said while beating the platform.

8:31 p.m.

An attendee said that money is the No. 1 reason for divorce. She said "Our parties are divorced."

Franchot said "Yes! ... I'm going to steal some of your rhetoric." 

She added, "It's refreshing to hear a politician I like."

8:33 p.m.

"It's not that we're spending on our citizens ... we have this looseness with our money and it's gotten out of hand ... ultimately we're going to have to pay it all back ... it's not a big rock candy mountain."

Robinson asked Franchot about advocating for air conditioning.

"For some reason ... one of the richest counties in the state ... almost half of all the classrooms don't have air conditioning ... these classrooms are as hot as ovens."

He said, "You guys got to join the rest of the state ... I got a lot of gobbledygook from them about how expensive it is ... they could if they wanted to ... just like how they air condition the offices of every elected official in the state ... they're getting off the offensive."

He complimented the new Superintendent Dance about his devotion toward air conditioning.

An attendee asked about how schools are old and air conditioning is too expensive.

He said that Anne Arundel county had the same problem 12 years ago and they decided to put window units in classrooms. They said it was not a problem.

Franchot said he supports window units for schools.

He said the previous superintendent wasn't interested in window units.

"It could be done here by spring," he said.

He called it a health issue.

8:43 p.m.

He said that Norman Rockwell paintings are his favorite.

He said that school should start after Labor Day. Attendees showed support. He said it helps small businesses and families.

He said he's getting a positive response.

He said one of his favorite Norman Rockwell painting is a summer vacation painting of before and after vacation.

"It's what makes life worth living ... kids and grand kids."

"If anyone has a tax issue, contact me. We will work with you."

"We have taken care of thousands of Marylanders who couldn't pay their taxes ... we will bend over backwards ... you've got to communicate with us ... they think we're like the IRS ... pay us $5 a week, we'll be happy, if you're from Perry Hall, pay us $2 a week."

8:47 p.m.

Robinson said, "Everybody agrees that that was a breath of fresh air."

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The plans to host during its monthly meeting, at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 in the .

Franchot is expected to speak about statewide and community issues that coincide with his office.

This will be the PHIA's first meeting back from summer recess. The featured state legislators. All are welcome to attend.

Patch will live blog updates from the meeting in this article.

Thomas Vandenoever September 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM
He was rather sly in that he wants fiscal displine from citizens. Yet he is part of using tax revenue as the basis for additional debt.(i.e BONDING AUTHORITY). That's like using the Bank of Mom & Dad (i.e THE TAXPAYERS) each time the ecomomy can't support the structural deficet created by debt to raise taxes again and again. He pandered to older attendees as the greatest generation knowing they are most likely to vote. Another missed question by Emily, Why wasn't Councilman Marks asked to respond to his recent support of Developement Attorneys who he previously condemed

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