Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot had a clear message for residents at the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Politically Connect luncheon on May 14. The biggest challenge facing Maryland?
“Money is not the issue,” said Franchot. “The issue is management.”
It was a line Franchot repeated several times through the course of the event, during which the Democrat spoke about the state’s economic transition as well as the executive one — Republican Larry Hogan was sworn-in as governor in January, succeeding Democrat Martin O’Malley — and how it is affecting Marylanders. Franchot favors easing the process of economic recovery, in particular, through tax moratoriums and procurement reforms.
He also stressed the importance of financial education to forestall such problems as high consumer debt. According to a 2013 report by TransUnion on credit card debt, Maryland ranked eighth highest in the nation with an average citizen-held debt of $5,345.
“We must ensure our children receive the practical skills necessary to better prepare for life ahead to arrive at what I call financial readiness,” Franchot said.
Franchot noted that Maryland does not have financial-readiness programs in its schools, while some institutions in Virginia have implemented curricula that impart basic financial knowledge. That state, he pointed out, is doing better than Maryland in such financial areas as debt, delinquent mortgages and bankruptcies.
When the floor was opened for questions, Dr. Henry Meier, who has traveled throughout the country, asked Franchot why Maryland, notorious for its high taxes, has what he thinks are some of the worst road conditions in the country.
“Money is not the issue,” Franchot answered. “The issue is management.”