Editor’s Note: Given the state of the U.S. economy, talk of recession, deflation and growing unemployment, which soared this past week to the highest level in over 30 years, and the continuing bailout by the feds of some of the largest industries and banks, TheBAYNET.com thought it would be important to find out what the top financial manager for Maryland was planning to do to keep Maryland safe and financially secure for its citizens.

What follows is a statement from Comptroller Peter Franchot, which outlines his efforts to manage the State’s finances:

 Maryland Comptroller, Peter Franchot

“There is no doubt that we are in the midst of the worst economic times since the Great Depression.  Maryland is fortunate to have an educated workforce, a strong tradition of fiscal stewardship and a diverse economy, which have helped us withstand this downturn better than some states.  However, that does not mean our economy is immune to what is happening to the national and global economy.  To that end, my office has been working diligently to ensure in these tough fiscal times that the state is collecting the tax revenues it is lawfully owed.  
“We have aggressively cracked down on Delaware Holding Companies and other tax avoidance schemes, with recent legal victories in Maryland Tax Court against Talbot’s and Nordstrom, along with a $10.8 million settlement from another major corporation as a result of the change to the state’s Captive REIT [Real Estate Investment Trusts] law.  We also entered into an innovative partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury that has yielded $21 million to state coffers by allowing Maryland to intercept federal vendor payments to satisfy state income tax liabilities.
“This past week at the Board of Public Works meeting, I was proud to have the support of Governor O’Malley and Treasurer Kopp in approving the software contract necessary to begin implementing an innovative new program, the Modern Integrated Tax System. Over the next four years, this initiative will bring in nearly $200 million in revenue for the state, and subsequently yield $80-$100 million annually after that. I am pleased that the Modern Integrated Tax System will bring in additional revenue for county governments as well, without requiring them to pay any out-of-pocket costs.  Programs such as this are important as the revenues it will generate will not come from new taxes, but rather taxes which are currently unpaid or underpaid.  
“While tough choices lie ahead, I am committed to be a part of the solution in managing our way out of these tough times.  My office has a proven track record of going after those who owe the state money – money that is needed right now to help us balance Maryland’s budget and guard against draconian cuts or additional tax increases, which ultimately affect local jurisdictions.  However, by working together, we will weather this storm and keep Maryland moving forward.  I am ready and willing to roll up my sleeves to do that.”