January 4, 2018
The Honorable William Folden
Frederick Delegation Chair
405 House Office Building
6 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Chairman Folden,
The purpose of this letter is to convey the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce’s official position on the override of House Bill 1 from the 2017 General Assembly session.
We are well aware that the majority party has prioritized the override of Governor Hogan’s veto, possibly as soon as the beginning of the 2018 session. Along with the Maryland State Chamber, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the planned veto override, and urges the members of the Frederick County Delegation to resist the pressure to cast an override vote.
There are multiple opinion surveys, studies and analyses available for public consumption. Depending on the organizer or sponsor of the survey and the style and format of the questions, a variety of answers and opinions result. We are making all of this data readily available to our membership. That includes survey results showing how voters react when the potentially negative consequences associated with HB 1 are implemented.
As a business advocacy organization, we feel that the state should NOT mandate specific solutions to private sector employers regarding how employees, both full and part time, are treated with regards to paid sick leave. The government would be better to restrict its attention to the employer/employee relationship to state agency workers. As you already know, most of our larger employers offer paid sick leave. Forcing this obligation on the backs of an employer of as few as 15 workers will result in an additional cost burden of up to $13,000 per year.
One of our Chamber members asked the Delegation a question at our recent Pre-Session Business Outlook. Speaking as the owner of a very successful and rapidly growing small business in Frederick County, he wanted to hear how he was supposed to absorb the cost burden of this new legislative mandate. He does his best to make his employees feel appreciated, fairly compensated and respected, but due to a highly competitive marketplace for his business, he cannot simply afford to adjust his cost-to-clients to accommodate the increase in his fixed costs.
Instead of a veto override, we urge you to work in a bipartisan manner to insure that if a sick leave mandate is necessary that it also include protections for smaller employers and regulatory protection from burdensome reporting. Please keep the member who sought your counsel, and hundreds of other Frederick-based employers, in the forefront of your thinking as you approach this important topic.
Please share this with your Delegation colleagues at your earliest convenience.
Copy to: Delegation Vice Chair Senator Michael Hough
Members of the Frederick County General Assembly Delegation
Eric Soter, Chairman, Chamber Public Policy Committee