Franchot tells Baltimore Jewish Council better management needed over spending - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Franchot tells Baltimore Jewish Council better management needed over spending

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot told the Baltimore Jewish Council Thursday that the state needs to manage its budget better – a position that he admits has not made him too popular in Annapolis among his fellow Democrats.

The event was hosted by BJC’s Politically Connect, which is designed to foster relationships between the city’s Jewish community and elected officials. Franchot acknowleded Executive Director Dr. Arthur C. Abramson for his efforts of behalf of the organization, which was founded in 1939 in response to the rise of Nazism in Europe and represents 50 constituent congregations and organizations.

But politics quickly ensued.

“I’m the state’s [chief] tax collector,” Franchot said, acknowledging his job description has made him unpopular at times.

Comptroller Franchot with BJC leaders. Executive Director Dr. Arthur C. Abrahamson is on the far left.

Comptroller Franchot with BJC leaders. Executive Director Dr. Arthur C. Abrahamson is on the far left. (Bryan Renbaum)

Franchot said, “more management” was needed over discretionary spending, “not [more] money.

He conceded partisanship during his 20-year tenure in the House of Delegates but denied his newly found fiscal moderation was borne out of convenience or any prospective plans to seek Maryland’s highest office.

“Being Comptroller is a great job,” Franchot told the Baltimore Post-Examiner, and strenuously denied gubernatorial ambitions.

Instead, Franchot stressed his desire to continue working with Governor Larry Hogan Jr., and even called for a “multi-year moratorium on new taxes and fees,” in an effort to stimulate private sector growth, but opposes tax cuts, putting himself at odds with the Governor.

Franchot also suggested, “Financial readiness needs to be taught in [Maryland] schools,” and highlighted the initiative in lieu of credit card debt, bankruptcy, and high foreclosure rates.

Franchot speaks to Baltimore's Jewish Council. (Bryan Renbaum)

Franchot speaks to Baltimore’s Jewish Council. (Bryan Renbaum)

Reactions to the speech were generally favorable.

Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, Director of Agudath Israel’s Mid-Atlantic Region and advocate of increased aid to parochial schools stated he and other rabbis previously met with Franchot when the former was considering a run for Governor and was impressed with the Comptroller’s willingness to “balance funding for public with non-public schools.”

Jonathan Schwartz, Senior Assistant to Democratic Councilwoman Vicki Almond (D-2) praised Franchot as “very attentive to the needs of the community,” and noted the Comptroller does not merely “sit in his Annapolis office” but is frequently involved in community events.

Rudy Stoler, member of Baltimore County’s Republican Central Committee (D-2) disagreed.

“He [Franchot] has been relatively responsive but could do better,” Stoler said, and suggested Franchot’s 2014 opponent, William H. Campbell, who had been CFO of Amtrak and the U.S Coast Guard, might be a better fiscal manager.

Stoler added, “Maryland needs to be more proactive in bringing businesses to the state and keeping them here.”

Questions from the audience focused on the state’s infrastructure.

One man asked about conditions affecting old roads and bridges.

Abramson followed a similar line of trajectory inquiring about Maryland’s infrastructure in lieu of the recent Amtrak tragedy in Philadelphia where seven cars were derailed resulting in eight fatalities and over two hundred injuries.

Franchot responded saying existing problems are the result of poor management as opposed to lack of funding.

Later that afternoon, Franchot spoke at the Legg Mason Conference Center downtown.

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About the author

Bryan Renbaum

Bryan is a reporter and political columnist with Baltimore Post-Examiner and has broken multiple stories involving athletic scandals. He has been interviewed by ABC's Good Morning America as well as Baltimore area radio stations. Bryan has both covered and worked in the Maryland General Assembly and is extremely knowledgeable of politics, voting patterns and American history. In addition to his regular duties, Bryan freelances for several publications and performs investigative research. He has a B.A. in Political Science. Contact the author.
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