From Delegate Warren Miller


Friends of Warren Miller Newsletter

Update from the Maryland General Assembly
March 29, 2010

Newsletter #7


in this issue
Public Investment “Protection” Act
Maryland Family and Medical Leave Act
Clean Energy Loan Program
Dear Constituent,

It is again my great pleasure to be your “common sense” conservative voice in Annapolis. I have been re-invigorated by the concern residents of Howard County have with the direction of our County and State.

Just two weeks left!  I am disappointed that the budget is as “bloated” as ever, the Governor and General Assembly’s lack of tough decisions on this budget will clearly drive us to another “Crisis” which will lead to higher taxes and fees.
I hope you are enjoying the weather and look forward to working with you on issues important to you.

Warren Miller

House Bill 1317 – Public Investment Protection Act


The slogan “Workers of the world, unite!” is one of the most famous rallying cries made famous by Karl Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto.”  Unfortunately, these days one can just as easily infer that motto as being included in the charter of the modern Democrat Party.   This bill represents another example of how the Democrat Party is the political party of state and union control, as opposed to the Republican Party being the political party of business and commerce.

The bill, House Bill 1317 – Public Investment Protection Act,attempts to illegally coerce construction, building service, food service, grocery, and hotel employers into forced unionization through Project Labor Agreements.  It also forces employers, who receive at least $250,000 in State economic development subsidies, to pay above the market wages through a super-minimum wage (130% of state of federal minimum wage).

As is always the case with these kinds of Democrat demands to force higher wages and unionization on the free market-place, unintended consequences abound, and this “union-centric” law would be no exception.  Instead of economic success, what we can expect are inflated costs of state goods and services, which mean economic development project costs would increase, thereby reducing the number of projects that can be supported by the state.

The concomitant results are in the evitable lower number of jobs, greater unemployment than would otherwise be necessary under these centrally planned circumstances, and more companies and private enterprises that would never want to relocate or start their businesses in Maryland.  The drumbeat to economic ruin continues unabated.

HB1317 continues the Democrat formula for economic depression and menace masquerading as good public policy.  It isn’t.

A reading of the House Bill 1317 indicates that this bill requires employers who receive at least $250,000 in State economic development subsidies in any form to pay specified employees the higher of a federal prevailing wage, State prevailing wage, or 130% of the minimum wage, and provide supplemental payments for fringe benefits.

These employers must also enter into specified agreements with labor unions that provide for collective bargaining on behalf of employees and prohibit the unions from organizing job actions against the employer. Affected employers who employ construction workers must use labor union hiring halls to hire their employees. The bill’s provisions are severable. The bill’s requirements apply to each employer involved in an affected project, including tenants, subtenants, and on-site contractors and subcontractors, regardless of whether the employer directly received State assistance.

Currently, Maryland law provides for:
1.      Minimum Wage
a.       Minimum wage is currently $7.25
2.       Living Wage
a.       Tier 1 living wage – Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel, Baltimore counties and Baltimore City is $12.25
b.      Tier 2 living wage – all other areas of the State is $9.21
3.      Prevailing Wage

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce gave 4 main reasons why this bill is absolutely unprecedented:
1.      Violates National Labor Relations Act – the bill attempts to illegally coerce construction, building service, food service, grocery, and hotel employers into forced unionization through Project Labor Agreements.
2.      Turning State Incentives into Disincentives – force the affected employers to pay above the market wages through a super-minimum wage (130% of state of federal minimum wage). If these requirements are violated the employer would have to repay the state’s investment and would be subject to additional damages.
3.      More Costs, Fewer Projects – it will inflate the cost of state goods and a service, which means economic development project costs would increase, reducing the number of projects that can be supported by the state.
4.      More Damage to the State’s Business Climate – illegally coerces unionization, renders worthless state economic development incentives, and adds super-minimum wage to the state-mandated wage levels.

I am relieved that after wasting 2 1/2 hours of our time that the bill sponsor told us She was withdrwaing the bill, but that we need to pass this legislation next year!

House Bill 1272 – Maryland Family and Medical Leave Act
In 1993 the federal government, under the Clinton Administration, passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMHA) which provided workers, at employers with 50 or more employees, with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave (24 weeks for military personnel) to care for some family members and themselves in cases of emergencies.  It’s been estimated that over 60 million workers have taken advantage of at least some time away from work because of this program.

In an effort, apparently, to outdo even the federal government, HB1272 was proposed as a State of Maryland attempt to expand the definition of family members to include others not previously recognized.   While this certainly sounds like a well-intentioned objective, and few would argue the concerns expressed are of great importance to some people, this bill also represented an additional unfunded mandate on employers in this state.

I’m glad to report that HB1272 was defeated, and while that should put this issue to rest for now, I don’t want to appear to be cavalier about that since family emergencies can and do happen.  Unfortunately, HB1272, like a lot of other Democrat proposals, is just another assault on business and profits and most importantly jobs.

The reality is that friendly sounding bills like this come with huge costs that are not factored into the calculus of unintended consequences.

For example, businesses absolutely consider state employment requirements when determining whether or not to move to one state location or another.  At a time when competition for new business is greatest, states putting the fewest obligations and roadblocks in the way of prospective employers generally attract the most.  Businesses that might otherwise be attracted to Maryland might, because of a bill like HB1272, instead go elsewhere.

The results of actually passing a bill such as HB1272 are likely continual disruption to an organization and loss of productivity, not to mention the ongoing misinformed Democrat assumption that unfunded mandates can be routinely paid for without consequences, while in fact, they can’t.  How could a business survive if more than one employee at the same time could take 36 weeks off (the maximum of the both the federal and state laws) from work and still be able to return to their jobs without any repercussions?

At a time when Maryland is in the throes of a faltering and diminishing economy, the direct outcome of something like HB1272 could be nothing less than the loss of jobs, no new jobs and high unemployment.  The laws of unintended consequences can be unremitting but they’re still “laws” that must be obeyed.

HB1272 did not meet the standard of a responsive and welcoming business environment that would maintain or create jobs and should have been defeated, and it was.

House Bill 1014 – Clean Energy Loan Programs
The purpose of this bill is to provide $4 million in Federal Stimulus money loans to residential and commercial property owners so they can finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  The question I have is “why?”  Why do we need to do this?

Why does the government need to get involved with people that want to upgrade their energy efficiency?  Why can’t people take personal responsibility of their needs and handle this issue for themselves?  Something like this would have been unheard of not that relatively long ago.  You needed something for yourself, so you took care of it.  It’s not that complicated.

In this case, not only is the money being made available through last year’s federal stimulus law but it’s also doled out by each county in the state.  In effect, administering these small amounts of money, virtually all of it borrowed from the Communist Chinese, will effectively turn the counties into local banks.

I believe this is a waste of county manpower and resources and does almost nothing constructive that those seeking these loans can’t do for themselves, and at no cost to the government or adding to the deficit. We have Banks and Credit Unions for a reason, our local governments shouldn’t compete with them.  I fully support tax credits for clean energy projects in your home.


One response to this post.

  1. Now that is a ‘constituent’ focused communication! Good Job Warren!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: