Q&A With Roger Bedingfield, Candidate for District 46 Delegate

| June 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Roger Bedingfield, a resident of Canton, is a Republican candidate for District 46 (map here) Delegate (3 seats available). The primary election will be held on June 24th and the general election will be held on November 4th.

CampPhotoTell us a little about yourself and why the areas of the 46th District are important to you?

I Moved to Maryland 14 years ago.  At the time I was working for the aviation industry where I had worked my way up from a baggage handler to a General Manager with 850 employees responsible for over $2 Billion in assets.  The district is important to me because I have seen the transformation from an almost dead neighborhood with drug dealers and prostitutes on the corners, to a vibrant one and I do not want to see it decline.  While there have been major improvement in the area, we are still unable to attract and retain young families, and this must change.

Why are you motivated to run for office and potentially serve this district?

I have seen the decline taking place not only in the city, but the state itself.  With over $11 billion dollars in new and mostly wasteful spending over the past 8 years, coupled with the devastating tax increases (on average $4600 per family), we are chasing private sector jobs out of this state.  Over the last 8 years, we have seen over 7,000 business close up or move out of state, along with a net loss of nearly 31,000 individuals culminating in a 0% GDP growth last year (49th in the nation).  Additionally, we have seen polls that say 47% of current residents would leave the state if they could along with succession movements in both the western and eastern parts of the state.  This is all attributed to bad government policy and this must be reversed.  We also have a huge issue with our government making a concerted effort to attract illegal migrants to our state costing taxpayers at least $2.5 billion dollars a year (we do not have total numbers because the state bars collection of the data).  This puts major budgetary pressures on our education, medical, and welfare systems.   The Governor claims that we need a living wage but they deny jobs to citizens by allowing illegal migrants to reside and take jobs here which artificially depresses wages across the spectrum and drives up the unemployment for legal residents.  Unfortunately, all of the Democrats running in this district would like to make matters worse by not only continuing these policies, but pursue more of the same.

What are some ways the state can help the City of Baltimore continue to grow and move in the right direction?

There are some policies that can be instituted at the state level to help Baltimore.  We must have a major change in the public education system and this cannot be done with the current education establishment in place.  First, we need to repeal Common Core.  We do not need a federal government (that does very little right) to tell us how we should be educating our children, or what we should be feeding them.  The state needs to institute a school voucher system that would give parents a choice in where and how their children are educated.  Second, the city cannot house all of their criminals so they end up giving early release to violent individuals who return to prey on our community while at the same time restricting our ability to defend ourselves.  The state must take those criminals and house them somewhere else, even if it means building new prisons.  We must also end the practice of allowing violent offenders to receive good time credits that allows them to return and prey on the citizenry.  Our government has become advocates for the criminals and not for the citizen and this must change.   Additional options include a temporary infusion of money at the state level so that the city can decrease their property taxes to encourage migration, by legal citizens, into the city.  If the city can see an increase in taxpaying individuals, then it can be revitalized with a larger tax base at lower rates becoming self-sufficient.  In addition, we have to look at ways to attract business to the city and state through sound tax and regulatory policy.

Many polls have rated Baltimore as an extremely unfriendly business state. What can be done to improve the business climate for all Maryland businesses?

Maryland continues to rank at the top of the list for the worst states to do business in and we have a private sector unemployment rate over 11% (in the city, it is almost 50%).  We now know that the state had a 0% GDP growth last year, and bad policy has seen the middle class in this state shrink by 38,000 while the level of those in poverty has risen by 21,000.  Instead of enacting policies that encourage a healthy business climate across the state, they brag about offering temporary credits to attract new business.  This is a prime example of the total lack of understanding of how businesses operate. Their thought process has driven all but 3 Fortune 500 Companies out of the state, and will probably lead to their departure in the near future.  As I stated earlier, we must have a major reversal in the direction the government has taken us over the past 8 years.  The only reason we have not seen a total collapse of the state’s economy is the infusion of federal grants and employees that reside in the state.  We must understand that this will not continue because eventually the size and scope of the federal government will diminish, the cash infusions will end, and we will be left with larger problems than we have now.  By easing the tax and regulatory burden on business, and incorporating the changes listed above, we can reverse the course we are on.  There seems to be no one in our delegation, in the house or senate leadership, nor in the governor’s office that understand basic economic principles.  No individual or government can out run the laws of economics for very long.  In addition to bad policy, we have overpromising politicians that refuse to fund the pension plans of state employees, which will cause a billion dollar catastrophe with the state employee pension plan in the near future.   The implementation of the job killing, misnamed Affordable Care Act must be reversed.  Thousands of Marylanders lost their private plans when only a small portion of the law was implemented.  Most are now paying much higher premiums ( 27% average for the state, 37% average in the city) with larger deductibles for less coverage and fewer choices in doctors.  With only 38% of employer plans that currently meet the standards, there will be huge numbers of individuals that will lose their jobs, or have their hours reduced to part-time levels because businesses will not be able to afford the cost that will be placed upon them by the law.  If you want to get a glimpse of what our future medical system looks like under the ACA, you just have to look at what is happening in the Veterans Affairs system at this moment.  In addition to all of that, the state will face a multibillion dollar budget issue when the federal subsidies for Medicare and Medicaid run out in three years leaving state taxpayers to foot the entire cost and drive premiums even higher.  Regardless of the assurances of the politicians, rates will only continue to rise and the level of care will continue to decrease.

Efforts have been in place to lower property taxes in Baltimore City, but much work is needed to make the city competitive with the surrounding counties, as well as the neighboring cities of Washington, DC and Philadelphia. How can the city and state work together to solve this problem?

As stated above, there are certain measures the state can take to assist the city with the revitalization process with pro-business, sound economic policies.  We must insure that the steps taken by the state are not counterproductive and that the city does not divert the temporary infusion of monies elsewhere.

How should the city and state proceed with the proposed Red Line? What future transportation or infrastructure projects are important to this area?

As it stands now, the Red Line project should be stopped.  As with most misguided policy, this project will not attract individuals to the city, but have the opposite effect.  The route, the construction cost, and the $200 million (minimum) tax increase will do more harm than good.  The tax increase will cause a greater flight of tax payers from the city.  The continued subsidies that will be required for the project will have a negative effect on all taxpayers in the state.  The traffic issues we currently have will be permanently compounded with the auto traffic flooding into the neighborhoods because of the lane reduction on Boston Street.  The loss of property values in the area will also be an issue.  Anyone who believes that a new rail system will be beneficial I encourage them to take a drive up and down our current rail system and point out where it has benefited the surrounding area.  I do believe that a major overhaul of the current MTA system in the city must happen.  We must have the ability to change routs, times, and stops to better meet the needs of the city.  Our focus should be on road, water system, sewage system, and basic infrastructure repairs because they are old and crumbling.  We already see that the systems are not able to handle the increased usage and we must have a long term plan to address these issues.

How can Baltimore City schools and recreations facilities continue to improve?

As stated above, we must repeal Common Core, institute a voucher system, and have accountability in our system.  We have heard a lot of bragging about monies being appropriated for school construction, but that will not solve the underlying problems with the system.  Our children’s education should be one of the most important things we focus on and we have spent billions of dollars on the current system that is still failing, and will continue to fail regardless of how much money we invest in it.  A solid basic education gives children the ability to change their situation and economic status.  Unfortunately, what we are providing does not inspire either for most children in the city system.  With regards to recreation facilities, we need to continue to make the necessary investment, but the communities need to understand that this is not an endless stream of money and that the individuals that use the facilities must be responsible for maintaining them.

Why should people vote for you? 

For far too long we have had runaway spending with job killing tax policies.  We have a delegation that is more worried about passing legislation that allow men into women’s restrooms, taxing the rain, driving up energy cost, or attracting those in the country illegally rather than focusing on attracting businesses and jobs to the state.  I will work to restore sanity to our state government and represent the citizens of the district where my counterparts in the Democratic Party will only represent the party.  I will say if you like high taxes, wasteful spending, fewer private business and jobs, and an expensive and underperforming education system, than you should vote for my opponents.  If this is not what you want, than you should cast your vote for me in November.  I encourage everyone to visit my website at www.roger446.com.

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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