2020 | Politics

Ficker running for governor in 2022 to cut sales tax

His proposal to limit property taxes in Montgomery County was approved for ballot last month

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Robin Ficker

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Frequent candidate Robin Ficker will be back on the ballot in 2022, this time to run for governor.

Ficker, a Boyds Republican, says he is running to succeed term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan because he wants to cut the state’s sales tax by 2 cents from the current rate of 6 cents per dollar.

In an interview Wednesday night, Ficker said this would help residents recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic.

“[I want to] give every Marylander a tax cut every day, which will be hundreds of dollars a year per family, and it’ll give families a tailwind coming out of this virus debacle and also will let the nation know that Maryland is good for business,” he said.

Ficker, 77, registered his campaign committee CutMDSalesTax2Cents.com with the state on March 28, according to Maryland’s campaign finance database.

Maryland is a heavily Democratic state, but has chosen Hogan, a Republican, in the last two elections.

Ficker served one term as a state delegate, from 1979 to 1983. He also has run unsuccessfully in about 20 other county, state and federal elections. His most recent race was for Montgomery County executive in 2018.

Ficker said he hopes to improve the business climate in the state and grow the tax base. He also said he wants to improve transportation in congested parts of the state, including Montgomery County.

“We’re the largest jurisdiction, and I think having a governor from Montgomery County who’s lived his whole life in Montgomery County will mean that maybe Montgomery County can be freed from transportation gridlock for once,” he said.

Although he won’t be on the ballot in November 2020, a measure initiated by Ficker will be.

The measure seeks to prevent the county from raising property taxes above the rate of inflation.

The county’s board of elections certified his charter amendment petition last month after determining that he had gotten more than the required 10,000 signatures.

Ficker also sponsored a term-limits ballot measure in 2016 that limits the county executive and County Council members to three four-year terms. The measure passed with nearly 70% of the vote.

Ficker said he’d rather run for governor in two years instead of challenging County Executive Marc Elrich (D) because it’s difficult for a Republican to win in Montgomery County and he “has the energy” to run a statewide race.

Ficker is the first Republican to announce he will run for governor. On the Democratic side, Comptroller Peter Franchot, another Montgomery County resident, has said he will run.

Another campaign promise from Ficker: Baltimore will get an NBA team.

“And, quite frankly, I would try to get [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos to pay for it,” he said.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com