Opinion: Politicians, let business owners make their own decisions on pay, sick leave
Opinion: Politicians, let business owners make their own decisions on pay, sick leave
A Facebook friend, during the recent debate over the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, commented that she “wants the rich to pay their fair share of taxes.”
Now, we’ve heard this statement for years, but for some reason it just struck me this time. I thought of all the local business owners just in Ocean City who started with a small business, i.e., a small hotel or restaurant or Boardwalk stand or a miniature golf course, and took the risks and invested the money to grow their businesses into successful companies that employ dozens, if not hundreds, of people, and pay an incredible amount of taxes.
These businesses help bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Ocean City every year who spend money and support other businesses, which in turn employ thousands of people and pay an incredible amount of taxes.
I thought, yes, these business owners probably are “rich,” even though, frankly, that is none of my business. So, what is their "fair share"? No one ever says.
These business owners, in addition to being “rich,” are very successful, smart people who have figured out the best way to run their businesses in order to make a profit, which is kind of necessary if they want to stay in business.
It is amazing to me that politicians believe they know better than business owners how to run their businesses; that bureaucrats who have never started a business think they are qualified to tell a business owner how much he or she must pay employees and what benefits must be provided. I am thinking, of course, of the paid sick leave bill which was, thankfully, vetoed by Gov. Hogan last year.
This legislation would have applied to all businesses with 15 or more employees and allowed only a 106-day exemption for seasonal workers (in 2018 there are only 99 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day). Both Gov. Hogan and Delegate Mary Beth Carozza offered bills and amendments in attempts to mitigate the harmful effects of the legislation but got nowhere in our overwhelmingly Democrat General Assembly.
Paid sick leave sounds good, but the real-world effects may not be so good. The profit margin of some businesses is such that the expense of paid leave forced on employers by this legislation could result in less employment for Marylanders.
The 2018 General Assembly Session began on Jan. 10, and Democrats, with their overwhelming majority in the state Senate, will try to override the governor’s veto of the paid sick leave bill (by the time this goes to press his veto may well have been overridden).
We on the Shore need to support the efforts of Republican Delegate Carozza and Gov. Hogan, who have so many issues on which to focus this year — passing a balanced budget with no new taxes that includes equitable funding for Shore highways and hospitals, and continuing to make Maryland more business friendly.
Marylanders are better served when our government representatives focus on government and let businesses focus on business.
Two Grants Totaling $250K To Expand Worcester Mental Health Care Services
BERLIN – Two grants totaling $250,000 are expected to expand mental health services in Worcester County.
On Wednesday, officials with Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services announced the nonprofit had secured $250,000 in grants to fund two clinicians over the course of two years.
Steve Taylor, executive director of Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, said the nonprofit received a $125,000 grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission and another $125,000 grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to hire additional clinicians for its counseling program.
Taylor said the program serves between 400 and 450 people annually.
“We employ about six full-time and four part-time therapists and we can’t hire enough to keep up with demand,” he said. “We have a waiting list of about 15 people and some of the waiting periods are three months to six months.”
In an effort to expand mental health services on the Eastern Shore, Taylor said the nonprofit reached out to both the public and private entities for support.
“We have been successful in obtaining two grants, each for $125,000,” he said. “So this organization is receiving $250,000 to expand access to mental health care.”
Taylor said the two individuals will be under clinical supervision while they provide counseling and therapy services to people in the community.
“These individuals have received all the training necessary, but they have to go into a 2,000-hour clinical supervision period before they can start billing insurances for their services,” Taylor said. “These grants will cover that two-year period while they are under supervision.”
Dr. Allan Anderson, chair of the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, said the $125,000 grant was one of 48 grants given throughout the life of the commission.
“We’re invested at the commission level … to expand behavioral health services,” he said.
Anderson said he expects the grant will help Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services to provide additional mental health services in a rural area.
“This grant will enable Worcester Youth and Family to hire additional therapists, serve more individuals and reduce the current wait time,” he said.
Delegate Mary Beth Carozza – who Taylor said was instrumental in connecting Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services with the state commission – commended the nonprofit for leveraging dollars and gathering the support of both public and private partners.
“I’m convinced this is the way that we need to continue to work together,” she said. “Through these partnerships, we can leverage these dollars. In the end, we are going to serve more of our families and serve more of our youth …”
Hometown Hero Banners Presented
OCEAN CITY — The Hometown Heroes banners honoring U.S. active duty members and veterans on the Boardwalk were presented to honorees or family members last weekend in a ceremony even more poignant than usual because of those who passed recently.
In 2014, the Ocean City Elks Lodge 2645 launched the first Hometown Heroes military banner program honoring active members of the armed forces from the resort area and Worcester County serving in various areas around the world. For the last three years, the popular banners have returned each May and proudly display pictures of active servicemen and women throughout the summer and into the early fall.
Last year, however, the Elks Lodge 2645 expanded the program to include U.S. armed services veterans who served in World War II or the Korean War who are from the resort area or live locally. As a result, the number of banners doubled from the original 20 active service honorees to 40, including 24 World War II veterans and 14 Korean War veterans.
Last Saturday, the Hometown Heroes banners were presented to the honorees and in many cases their families after they were taken down for the season in a fitting ceremony at the Elks Lodge in Ocean City. The ceremony was particularly notable this year because of the passing of several of the honorees. At a time when the nation is losing its World War II veterans by the hundreds each day, eight of the veterans honored by the Hometown Heroes program in Ocean City have passed away since the banners were installed last May, according to Ocean City Elks Lodge Veterans Committee member Pat Riordan.
“Of those 40 honorees, eight have passed away since May 4 when the banners were dedicated and displayed,” he said. “That shows just how important it is to honor these heroes while they are still with us.”
Riordan, who conceived of the idea for a Hometown Heroes military banner program for Ocean City after observing a similar display in Temecula, Calif. a few years back, said the Ocean City Elks Lodge remains committed to honoring its armed services active duty members and veterans with local ties.
“The members of the Ocean City Elks Lodge 2645 are dedicated to helping our veterans in any way we can,” he said. “This program is our way of thanking our hometown heroes for their service. It is to thank them for defending the United States of America. It is a way to thank them for fighting for our freedom.”
The banners are affixed to brackets attached to light poles along the concrete section of the Boardwalk from 4th Street south. To accommodate the significant expansion of the number of banners to honor World War II and Korean War veterans last year, the town approved adding the banners to additional light poles along the concrete section around the Wicomico Street Pier.
“The first 20 banners were flown during the summer of 2014,” he said. “This first two years, all of the banners were for active military duty. In 2016, the town approved adding 20 additional light poles for the hometown heroes program and we began honoring World War II and Korean War veterans with banners.”
The Ocean City Elks Lodge sponsors the program with the help of private donations from citizens and businesses and other fraternal organizations. Each of the banners cost around $295, not including the cost of the heavy duty brackets that support them. The Town of Ocean City’s in-kind contribution is the installation of the banners each spring and taking them down each fall.
Delegate Mary Beth Carozza scores 100% in 32nd Annual Scorecard Identifying Maryland’s Pro-Business Legislators
COLUMBIA, Md., June 14, 2017 – Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG), a statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, has released the 2017 results of its annual publication Roll Call, now available online. Roll Call is in its 32nd year of printing.
Delegate Carozza scored 100%, indicating a pro-business position. MBRG considers cumulative scores above 70% as pro-business.
Each year, MBRG’s State Advisory Council selects recorded votes from the most recent General Assembly session that are essential to create/retain jobs and promote a healthy business climate throughout Maryland. MBRG identifies these bills in Roll Call and analyzes the votes to produce a score for each legislator.
For the 2017 analysis, Roll Call analyzed 15 Senate votes and 16 House votes.
This year, 11 Senators (just 23% of the Senate) and 37 Delegates (just 26% of the House) received perfect scores of 100%, whereas 84 Delegates (60%) and 18 Senators (38%) scored below 30%. The high-scoring legislators generally rejected the extreme policies of legislative mandates and bans, whereas the lower-scoring legislators generally embraced such approaches. For example, the paid leave bill (House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 230) mandated paid leave for employees of 15-person organizations who work as little as 12 hours per week or as few as 107 days per year, and dozens of proposed amendments that sought to lessen the job-killing effects of this mandate were roundly rejected. The legislators who voted against the bill and in favor of the amendments generally scored well, whereas those who favored the mandate and rejected the amendments generally scored poorly.
"Maryland Business for Responsive Government truly understands the policies needed to increase economic development and grow jobs for Maryland's future, and I am proud that they recognize my pro-business votes that benefit both employers and workers across the state," said Delegate Mary Beth Carozza (R-District 38C/Worcester &Wicomico). "I respect the leadership and work of the members of MBRG and am grateful for my 100 percent rating this year."
“We appreciate those legislators who are able to look deeper at a bill, beyond an innocuous bill title, such as The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, for example, to recognize that such mandates not only harm Maryland’s business climate, but will likely cause even more hardship for the very people the bills purport to help. Mandated paid leave is irrelevant if you no longer have a job.” said Duane Carey, President of MBRG.
Indeed, a 2017 study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) showed that Maryland’s paid leave bill would result in the loss of 13,000 jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity.
January 20, 2017
Contact: Louis Evans, 410-841-3356
ANNAPOLIS: "As we wrap up a productive week in the State House, I would like to reflect on the historic Inauguration of our 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and highlight the opportunity we have to work together as Americans on our shared priorities. I am looking forward to learning more about President Trump’s proposals at the federal level and how we can work together at the state level to grow jobs and strengthen economic development across the Shore. I hope he will build on the Maryland partnerships in the areas of education, health care, and public safety."
Highlights below from this week’s session include Delegate Mary Beth Carozza’s (District 38C) preliminary review of Governor Larry Hogan’s Budget for the Fiscal Year 2018, the Governor’s "Sun and Wind Tax Veto", and Delegate Carozza’s visits with local constituents in Annapolis.
Governor Larry Hogan submitted a $43.5 billion structurally-balanced budget which funds Maryland’s priorities, holds the line on spending without raising taxes, and ensures $1 billion in Maryland’s reserves. Highlights include a record $6.4 billion for Maryland’s public schools, $234 million in Highway User Revenues, $51 million for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, $11.9 million in tourism development, $4 million for the heroin and opioid addiction crisis, and $4 million for rural programs. The Governor’s FY ’18 budget also funds several local Shore priorities including $2 million for Ocean City beach replenishment, $681,000 for the Atlantic General Hospital Regional Cancer Center, $7.6 million for the Wicomico County local disparity grant, $1 million for economic development in Salisbury and $1.9 million for Chesapeake Health Care’s new building. Delegate Mary Beth Carozza has been participating in budget briefings in her role on the House Appropriations Committee, Health and Human Resources Subcommittee.
RENEWABLE ENERGY - "SUN AND WIND TAX" VETO
Carozza plans to support Governor Hogan’s veto of SB 921/HB 1106 Renewable Energy Portfolio bill which is scheduled for an override vote in the House of Delegates on Tuesday, January 24th. While Carozza agrees with the general goal of growing renewable energy in Maryland, she voted against HB 1106 last session. This bill would impose a tax increase between $49 million to $196 million by 2020.These new taxes would fund the proposed increase in the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) compliance. Over the past five years, as much as $186 million of Maryland’s dollars have gone to purchase out-of-state Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), and then sent to electric providers out-of-state. Carozza said, "I’m supporting Governor Hogan’s veto because this legislation is a tax increase on every single electricity ratepayer in Maryland. The out-of-state purchase of these energy credits has produced no economic benefit to Maryland jobs."
CONSTITUENT VISITS IN ANNAPOLIS
Del. Carozza is appreciative of the constituents, small businesses, community organizations and local elected officials who have visited with us to share their views and priorities during session. These include Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, Salisbury Mayor Jake Day, Pocomoke Mayor Bruce Morrison, Berlin Council Member Zach Tyndall, Wicomico Executive Bob Culver, Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis, Worcester School Superintendent Lou Taylor, and Worcester Deputy Sheriff Eddy Schreier. In addition, Carozza visited with Maryland Century Farm Families: Brian T. Johnson of Somerset, the Adkins, Brittingham, Buchen, Clark, and Elliott families of Wicomico, and Dan and Willis Redden of Worcester, and Maryland Fisheries Dir. Dave Blazer of Ocean Pines. Lisa Ludwig with the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area and Ellen Waters of Worcester County, board member of CareFirst, also spent time with Del. Carozza in the State House.
Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area Director Lisa Ludwig of Salisbury attended the Maryland Heritage event in Annapolis.
Worcester Deputy Sheriff Eddie Schreier stopped by Annapolis on his way to work President Trump’s Inauguration.
Note: The Eastern Shore Delegation meets every Friday morning during session in Annapolis at 9:00 a.m., and all are welcome to attend. If you wish to share your views with Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, the Annapolis office email is [email protected] and her website is www.marybethcarozza.com.