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Citizens for Gus Kurtz
8133 Hog Neck Road
Pasadena, MD 21122

Issues

Gus Kurtz on Tough Issues:

Second Amendment: Our right to keep and bear arms

Gun control laws regulating the sale, possession and use of firearms in Maryland have gotten increasingly strict since O’Malley’s election to governor in 2006. Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013, passed in April by the general assembly, has ranked Maryland’s gun control laws among the top in the nation, inciting petitions and protest, and causing the National Rifle Association (NRA) to take legal action against the state.

Strenuous background checks, the ban of certain semi-automatic firearms, and several additional increased hurdles to gun ownership have threatened a basic right of Marylanders — the right to protect themselves and their families.

Statewide, gun owners and proponents of the second amendment have been outspoken in opposing the bill; one of the most notable being teen member of the Maryland Rifle Club, Sarah Merkle. Merkle was outspokenly opposed to the new laws, telling Maryland lawmakers that the bill was a violation of second amendment rights.

On a smaller scale, pro-gun internet message boards are littered with comments from Maryland gun owners, concerned about the direction our state has taken and how it will impact their rights.

“How much more evidence does one need to see that none of these laws is working as promised?”

Annapolis largely ignored the multiple large protests in the Capital, thousands upon thousands of letters written, and hours of testimony by average Marylanders against the bill.”

Gun owners across our district, be assured that I hear your concerns, and am prepared to address them as your state delegate.

The Kurtz commitment to our community —

The second amendment and all the rights guaranteed by it should enable law-abiding Maryland residents to own firearms, and to keep them in their homes for self defense.

As your delegate, I commit to work to ensure that the state legislature does not take away additional rights from Maryland gun owners, and to support efforts that seek to increase opportunities for law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms.

 

Fiscal Reform and Taxes

When it comes to fiscal policy, Maryland is in desperate need of change. Governor O’Malley has led our state to a spending increase of more than 30% during his time in office, and is attempting to compensate for next year’s $37 billion budget by imposing higher gas taxes, the state’s new “rain tax,” and other startling tax increases. In a state that is already ranked third highest in the nation for individual income tax and sits well above the national average for state tax burden, additional taxes are not the solution to Maryland’s financial woes.

According to a recent Tax Foundation report, Maryland’s 2013 tax climate ranks 41st in the nation. With the neighboring states of DE, PA, WV and VA all ranked lower than 30th on the scale, Maryland stands a true risk of residents relocating, or at the very least taking their spending across state lines. Driving away revenue with increased taxes or forcing the hard working families of Maryland to relocate due to high income and property taxes will only add to the growing problem of our state budget deficit.

The financial situation Maryland has found itself in is dire. Political representation from committed, hard working community members like myself is required to restore balance and bring fiscal reform to state taxation and spending.

The Kurtz commitment to our community —

As your state delegate, I will vote against all attempts to increase existing taxes or create new ones — period!

Having been raised by small business owners, and now being one myself, I understand completely the importance of holding on to as much of every dollar earned as possible. It is painfully clear that all Maryland taxes — individual, business, sales, property — are entirely too high.

Legislative leaders have raided our transportation funds for years. It’s time the General Assembly works to place a real “lock” on the funds used to support  transportation needs in the state and stop moving dedicated funds to pay for unnecessary spending then raise taxes claiming there are no funds to pay for roads and mass transit.

The fiscal situation in Maryland cannot be fixed by pointing fingers, checking the fine print for loopholes, or talking around the questions. Cuts to the state budget must occur and, as your state delegate, I commit to work tirelessly both in the community and on the floor of the house to develop practical solutions for reducing state spending.

 

Property Owner Rights

Census data in recent years has shown that nearly 80% of Anne Arundel County residents, and close to 70% of residents statewide are homeowners. Recent Tax Foundation studies indicate that Maryland is ranked 17th highest in the nation for property tax rates, collecting more than $1500 per person in property taxes each year.

Marylanders pay an exorbitant amount of their hard-earned money back to the state and local government each year in property taxes. Taxes and fees continue to increase, with new ways to demand additional dollars from Maryland residents popping up all the time.

The homes and land we own are ours — plain and simple! We spend thousands of dollars every year purchasing, maintaining and improving our property. The bureaucratic regulations state legislators have placed on property owners must be changed, and the fees and taxes being imposed must be reduced.

As a fellow property owner, I am committed to fight for the rights of homeowners and landowners across the state of Maryland.

The Kurtz commitment to the community —

During my time as state delegate, I am committed to oppose all state attempts to gain additional control over local land use. I will work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to develop practical alternatives to protecting the Chesapeake Bay that do not force additional taxes or fees upon our residents.

Speaking as someone who was raised by working-class parents who turned the waterfront property they owned into a thriving, successful, trusted local business, I have seen firsthand the impact that high taxes and fees can have on property owners and their families.

Speaking as a homeowner, business owner and lifelong resident of Pasadena, I am confident of my ability to represent area residents in the fight to own and use our land as we desire, without strict regulations and high taxes.

 

Putting and Keeping Criminals Behind Bars

● June 2011 – An 18-year-old man pleads guilty to first degree assault and several counts of second degree assault after pistol-whipping an elderly man and holding a loaded gun to a woman’s head during an armed robbery. While the normal sentence for such a crime should be five to sixteen years, the sentence handed down was a mere eighteen months behind bars. The judge in the case was quoted as having told the young man he hoped that, in spite of a previous criminal record and multiple offenses, he hoped the lenient sentence would help him, “straighten up.”

● February 2013 – An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge sentences a man who pleaded guilty to assault after a triple-stabbing to a reduced prison sentence do to his short stature. The criminal, standing at five feet, one inches tall, should have served out a lengthy sentence within a Maryland state prison, but was instead sentenced to eighteen months in a county facility, due to the judge fearing he would be “lunchmeat” in a state prison due to his height.

Maryland has developed a reputation for being extremely lenient on criminals. Like most Marylanders, I am a hard working, law abiding citizen who has worked my entire life to support and protect my family. As your delegate, I am committed to working to keep all of our families safe by pushing for tougher laws that put criminals where they belong — behind bars!

The Kurtz commitment to our community —

As state delegate, I will fight to ensure that Maryland legislators hear and respond to the concerns of law abiding citizens who fear for the safety of themselves and their families.

Maryland allows for too lenient of prison sentences for assault and murder; to mechanisms that allow sex offenders to keep their names off of the Maryland Sex Offender Registry, etc. These types of issues must be corrected.

Corruption in our state prison systems must be addressed. Millions and millions of our tax dollars go toward our detention centers and prisons. Tax payers deserve strong leadership that will run a strict and efficient corrections system.

I firmly believe in the importance of adequate police protection, and will do everything in my power to ensure that our police force has the funding and support they need to continue to keep criminals off our streets, out of our neighborhoods and away from our families.

Additionally, I will support initiatives that strive for more stringent laws, less legal loopholes and stricter sentencing statewide. The Maryland judicial system has proven its need for change, and as your representative, I will work to create an atmosphere of change in a system that is returning dangerous criminals to the streets daily.