Ten Questions: Brendan Madigan
Name: Brendan Madigan
Office Sought: Comptroller
1. Give our readers a little insight into your background.
Before launching my campaign, I served as the Founder and Executive Editor of the conservative blog GOP Resurgence. During this time, I was also very active in State politics, especially in regard to the speed camera legislation. Prior to this, I was the Baltimore County Coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty.
2. What made you decide to run for Comptroller?
Through my work as a political activist, I have seen our elected representatives in Annapolis, time and time again, put policies into place that have both directly and indirectly harmed the hard-working citizens of this State. As Comptroller, I will stand up against those who choose to put these policies in place and fail to represent the best interests of the people of Maryland.
3. What is your political lodestar? What shapes your ideological background?
I would say that my political lodestar is fiscal responsibility. The tax-and-spend mentality that seems to plague our elected officials in Annapolis, both Democrats and Republicans, needs to be brought to an end. My ideological background is based on a number of things including the United States Constitution and Maryland Constitution. I believe that the framers truly intended for a government that was responsible in the way that it conducts itself. Clearly, the current status of our State government does not fall into line with this intention, especially when it comes to fiscal issues.
4. Current Comptroller Peter Franchot has used his position as a platform on which to talk about various other issues around the state; would you remain focused on your position as Comptroller, or would you follow Franchot’s example in this regard?
Too many of our elected officials today, especially at the state level, are simply looking to further themselves politically instead of remaining focused on what they were elected to do, and I believe that Comptroller Franchot is no exception to this trend. As Comptroller, I am going to focus exclusively on what I can do as Comptroller to transform Maryland into an economic powerhouse instead of just looking to get my name in the news.
5. Of all the issues facing our country and state, what would your priorities be as a Comptroller?
I would use the Constitutional and inherent powers of the Comptroller to work to reduce taxes and spending. Many people do not realize how influential the Comptroller really is on these issues. As a member of the Board of Public Works, the Comptroller holds a significant amount of power over the State’s spending. In addition, the Comptroller is often considered to be very influential when it comes to tax policy.
6. Do you support an amendment to the State Constitution that would require a supermajority of General Assembly members approve any tax increases?
I would absolutely support and an amendment that would put this requirement into place. An amendment of this type would spur economic growth in Maryland by providing businesses with greater financial certainty. Currently, 16 states have passed amendments of this nature and positive economic growth has been seen in each of these states as a direct result of the amendment.
7. Currently the Comptroller’s office spends a great deal of resources fighting cigarette smuggling; do you find this a necessary enforcement of current tax laws, or a waste of state resources?
In principle, this is a necessary enforcement of current tax laws; however, this enforcement needs to be carried out in a reasonable way that maximizes revenue for the State. It would be ridiculous and send the wrong message to just totally abandon enforcement of the tax just because smugglers make it difficult to do so. Tax enforcement must be carried out in a fair way, and not going after cigarette smugglers would be unfair to the middle-class Marylanders that pay their taxes honestly.
8. How do you see yourself as a member of the Board of Public Works; how do you see yourself casting a vote on the issues that come before the Board?
As a member of the Board of Public Works, I see myself as standing up against the out-of-control spending in Annapolis. Although the Board of Public Works only has the authority to vote on certain spending proposals, I think that voting in favor of fiscal responsibility on the Board would certainly send a strong message and be a step in the right direction.
9. Many people do not understand the role of the Comptroller’s office; how do you plan to overcome this and make voters understand the importance of the office?
The Comptroller’s office is probably the most complicated elected office in Maryland. If elected, I will put an easy-to-understand explanation of the role of the Comptroller’s office on my website. In addition, as Comptroller, I will only state my opinion on issues that are relevant to the office (unlike Comptroller Franchot), which will give voters a better idea of the role and scope of the Comptroller’s office.
10. What steps will you take in working with whomever is elected Governor and whomever is selected as Treasurer to ensure the state’s AAA bond rating?
As Comptroller, I will work with the Governor and the Treasurer to rein in the out-of-control spending in Annapolis to ensure that the State holds its AAA bond rating. Currently, Maryland is in an unfavorable financial position that has left it at risk of losing this very important rating. Unlike many of our other elected officials, I will stand up against those who disregard the importance of Maryland’s AAA bond rating by continuing to spend recklessly in tough economic times.