Monday, January 16, 2006


Maryland's bid to get business to Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania....

In Maryland (where I live), the overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled State Legislature recently overturned Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich's veto of a bill from the prior year's session. The bill requires any company employing more than 10,000 people in the state to pay at least 8% of their payroll costs for healthcare or make up the difference with a contribution to the state coffers. Now when I write "any company", I guess I should be more specific. I should just write "Wal Mart" as that is the only company this bill impacts. And such measures go a long way toward ensuring that no other large employer will also find itself subject to the bill's provisions.
As alluded to below, Wal Mart recently agreed to build a distribution center in Wicomico County, Maryland - one of the poorer areas of the state. Predicatably, Wal Mart will now re-visit that decision. Also predictably, Wicomico County is not a Democratic stronghold. [Oops - that should be Somerset County]
The following are some of the comments I sent to one of the delegates who voted to override the veto.

"I was so surprised to see you voted to override the health care veto. Then I remembered that you don't live in Wicomico County and thus any negative impact of this override will probably not fall on you or your immediate constituents. I know you and your fellow Dems carefully weighed the impact of this bill on the Maryland business climate before making your decision. And, as a result of your clear thinking, I imagine all over America business leaders are now taking notice of what is going on in Maryland and saying "Wow - that's where we should be doing business - they love us there!!"

Neverthless, I'm sure there are those naysayers out there who may decry this override as an obvious sellout to organized labor and unionized businesses. I've even heard some who suggest this was nothing more than a singular attack on Wal-Mart. However, in the interest of bi-partisanship, I will not ascribe those motives to you and yours. Instead, let me tell you why I think this override was so important: after listening to Ted Kennedy, Kate Michelman, Chuck Schumer & other Democratic deep-thinkers, I now recognize this as a necessary first step toward covering all the women, children & minorities who will, no doubt, be tossed into the street, bereft of all their civil rights, once Judge Alito ascends to the Supreme Court.

Finally, please pass on to the rest of your compatriots just how much schlubs like me appreciate their sacrifice and time in serving in Annapolis. Obviously, with your collective business accumen, you could all be multi-millionaire business owners. Instead, you give the rest of us the benefit of your keen economic insights: minumum wage, 8% health care costs...I mean, Damn - how do you guys nail it so exactly when the collective wisdom of the market just doesn't seem to have a clue?"

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