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George says he would repeal gas tax increase as governor

Del. Ronald A. George, R-Anne Arundel, discusses his bid to win the Republican nomination for Maryland governor. (Alexander Pyles/The Daily Record)

Del. Ronald A. George officially announced his candidacy for governor Wednesday evening and also gave a preview of what his policies would look like as the state’s chief executive.

The Anne Arundel County Republican listed among 10 campaign promises — which he pledged to flesh out in greater detail this fall — a desire to repeal the gas tax increase signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley last month.

George said some of the money to improve Maryland’s transportation system could be found elsewhere but added that plans for the Red Line in Baltimore and Purple Line in suburban Washington, D.C., would have to be revised.

“We can’t be as aggressive on those things as we’d like to be,” George said. “We have to live within out means.”

George, who owns Ron George Jewelers on Main Street in Annapolis and another location in Severna Park, described some of his plans in a meeting with reporters prior to a $50-a-head announcement and fundraiser held at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel.

As governor, the second-term delegate said he would seek “true economic growth” and increase government transparency while also reforming Maryland’s prisons, working toward energy independence and cutting corporate income taxes. He said he’d also repeal the state’s stormwater remediation fee — called a “rain tax by opponents — or at least take the federal Environmental Protection Agency to court to fight its clean water mandate.

After 21 years as a business owner, George said he would bring a business-like approach to the job of governing Maryland.

“It gives you a sense of making sure you don’t waste a single dollar,” George said.

The campaign announcement, which appeared to be attended by about 150 people, was to serve as a launching point for George, who said he’s trying to become more well-known in some areas of the state.

“I have a little more name recognition than people think,” said George, who grew up in Howard County. “I know quite a few people around, and people know me.”