2018 Maryland election results

James Kitchin

James Kitchin
  • Democrat
  • Age: 33
  • Residence: Crofton

About James Kitchin


BA in Business Administration MA in Interational Studies MA in Interdiciplinary Studies (Political Science and Education) PhD in Public Policy (In progress, projected completion is summer of 2019)


High School History & U.S. Government Teacher Public Policy Researcher


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Should the county develop small area plans as part of the upcoming General Development Plan and Comprehensive rezoning process?
Kitchin: Yes, I believe that the Small Area Plans (SAPs) are important and should be incorporated into the General Development Plan and Comprehensive Rezoning. That being said, we don’t need to start from scratch. First of all, we have cut the Department of Planning & Zoning to such an extent that they don’t currently have the staff to re-do all 16 of the SAPs. Second, even if we had the appropriate level of staffing, to really do the SAPs well the county would have needed to start the process a couple of years ago. What I believe should happen is that Planning & Zoning should create a scorecard for each of the SAPs that shows which parts of them have been accomplished and which parts have not. This could then be used as a jumping off point for informing the new General Development Plan. Moving forward, Small Area Planning should be made an integral part of all future General Development Plans and Comprehensive Rezoning processes. Getting input from each of our communities is vitally important and it is really disappointing that it was not done better this time around.
The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County continues to advocate for a return of step increases given up during the 2008 recession. Should the County Council fund these increases?
Kitchin: Absolutely. The answer is an absolute “yes.” There is both an efficiency and an equality component to this. In terms of efficiency, our veteran teachers who stuck with us through the recession are not making a competitive salary when compared to what they could make in surrounding jurisdictions (this is true of all of our teachers, but the situation is accentuated for our veteran ones who are multiple steps behind where they should be). We are losing more and more of them each year and their experience is irreplaceable. In the long run in would be more efficient, and more fiscally responsible, to pay the makeup steps and retain these teachers instead of spending the money on recruiting and training their replacements. In terms of equality, a new teacher with less experience can be hired in our county and make thousands of dollars more than a more experienced teacher that was loyal and stuck with us through the recession. Stop and think for a minute about how being treated so unequally could affect teacher morale. A public education is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy, and the backbone of any public education system is good teachers. We need to ensure that all teachers, and especially our veteran ones, feel valued by our county. Right now this is not the case, and a great step towards changing this dynamic is to make up the steps that were missed during the recession.
Do you support maximizing revenue under the county tax cap, or seeking additional revenues to support increased spending on education, public safety or other initiatives?
Kitchin: I don’t want to pay a dime more in taxes than I have too. They say that we millennials have three mortgages: student loans, private childcare, and a housing payment. This is definitely the case for my family and me and so again, I don’t want the government to collect any more revenues from us than is actually needed. That being said, I do want Anne Arundel County to collect enough revenue to provide county residents with the level of services that we both need and deserve. This includes having adequately staffed schools, police, and fire departments as well as paying these public servants a competitive salary when compared to other jurisdictions in the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area. To do this we will need more revenue. It’s just math. The first way to bring in new revenue is to raise development impact fees to 100% of their true cost. This will free up the portion of our budget that we are currently using to subsidize development. Second, is to consider ways to have tourists pay more for their use of our roads and for being protected by our public safety departments. Third, we need to stop giving corporate welfare in the form of multi-million dollar tax breaks to already-profitable big businesses. However, if we are honest, we will have to end up looking at restructuring the tax cap. We can and should still have one, but the current structure of our tax cap puts too much strain on the county budget.

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