O’Malley’s Regs Kill Construction Jobs – Maryland Senate Republican Caucus


The construction industry has been hit especially hard by job losses in
Maryland. An analysis by the Department of Business and Economic Development
estimates that 45% of Maryland’s total job loss has been from construction
employment (Economic Pulse, September 2009)

To be successful, a jobs strategy for Maryland must focus on measures to
stimulate private sector growth in the construction industry. Instead, the
O’Malley administration is proceeding in exactly the opposite direction.

Earlier this week, contractors, home builders and related industries
descended upon Annapolis to oppose implementation of stormwater regulations
proposed by the Department of the Environment that would devastate
Maryland’s construction industry.

Overzealous bureaucrats have devised stringent new regulations without a
grandfather clause. Those few businesses attempting to recover from the
economic downturn by financing projects in the pipeline will be dealt a
second blow in May 2010 when all projects would be required to meet these
new standards.

The new regulations have infuriated legislators who voted unanimously for
the 2007 bills (SB 784 and HB 786 – Stormwater Management Act of 2007). The
proposed regulations far exceed anything imagined by the legislators that
supported the legislation. Legislators also questioned why MDE Secretary
Shari Wilson failed to appear in Annapolis and respond to their questions
this week.

If the O’Malley Administration is serious about job creation, the Governor
will direct Secretary Wilson to change these regulations. First, existing
projects that have already applied for environmental permitting need to be
grandfathered under the old rules. Second, the regulations must broaden the
scope of what is considered redevelopment so that developers are not
prohibited from using 50% of the site for open space (which obviously does
not make sense in some very dense urban areas in places like Baltimore
City).

Otherwise, the only new jobs created under the O’Malley employment strategy
will be those directly funded by federal bailout monies. The private sector
will continues to be too over-taxed and over-regulated to lead the recovery
for Maryland’s unemployed.

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