La Plata, MD – Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot said during his recent visit to Charles County that working with new Governor Larry Hogan is showing him “strong signs of improvement” over past administrations in terms of bringing economic benefits throughout the state.

“I’m a Democrat and I’m saying this,” Franchot said. “If we shift from all things government, if we can get away from that mindset, and address real budget issues, we can make Maryland an economic power. It’s not happening right now,” he said.

“The public needs to receive customer service,” he told the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Sept. 22. “We need the bureaucracy of the state to give respect to the private sector and not foot dragging.

“We have unbelievably strong economic bones in the state of Maryland,” Franchot added. “People are not spending. They don’t have confidence, that’s part of it. There are a lot of things underway that will be very helpful in getting the state of Maryland back to robustness. Charles County has all kinds of transitions going on. The economic engines, once they’re properly lit, will take us to the next level.”

“We’re a little microcosm of the state,” said Sue Greer, Charles County Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We’re hoping to raise up our community base. Until we do, we feel that impact of taxes and fees. They hamper the economic engine from moving forward.”

“There are still a lot of people who believe in an efficient government delivering services,” Franchot responded. “They also believe in fiscal responsibility. We have not had that. I want to tell you there’s a new day in Annapolis for public works.

“Governor Hogan is saying, show us you can do a better job,” he added. “That’s the kind of fiscal responsibility the state is thirsty for. Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford is all business. Before, where on the Board of Public Works we always lost by a 2-1 vote, that is going to turn around. I believe it will clean out a lot of debris in the bureaucracy.”

Franchot felt the issuing of contracts through the Board of Public Works was not part of a properly bid process.

“We kept challenging that procurement system,” he said. “It was viewed by some communities as not on the level. That’s going to end. A bi-partisan partnership is going to set the state on much firmer footing.

“We’re going back to competitively bid contracts,” Franchot added. “The bureaucracy is not happy right now. Things are going to be modified at the state level. I think we’ll see things turn around.”

He said that review of the public process will be paramount for the state’s future.

“It’s appalling to me,” Franchot said. “The bid process for contracts worth hundreds of millions being single bid. It’s the state’s ugly secret.”

Franchot once again reiterated his strong opposition to gambling, claiming it to be a “volatile source of revenue. The money that should be spent boosting the state’s economy is not well spent there,” he stated. “That’s the kind of discretionary money needing to be spent in the state, instead it goes to slot machines.” 

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