The Maryland Legislature: “Always Low Standards”

By January 14, 2006General

It’s not very often that we agree with the Washington Post, but they got it mostly right yesterday in their editorial (rightly) entitled, “Beating Up on Wal-Mart“. The subject was yesterday’s overriding by the Maryland legislature of Gov. Ehrlich’s veto of the so-called “fair share” bill. The bill would require every employer with more than 10,000 employees in the state top spend at least 8% of its payroll on health care. Wal-Mart is the only employer who meets the size requirement that doesn’t spend as much as 8% on health care.

Regardless of what you think of Wal-Mart, this has two fundamental flaws. If they can set the bar at 10,000, they can set it at 10. This is just bad public policy, a governmental mandate to provide a benefit that is now voluntarily provided. At the end of the day, there will be less employment in Maryland. Maybe they don’t care.

Secondly, most every bit of bad news you read about Wal-Mart is traceable to labor’s war against them. This isn’t conspiracy theory, it’s a testament to labor’s incredible ability to stay focused and to execute. The lawsuits over harassment and overtime, the seeming spontaneous uproars from various citizen and religious groups, virtually all can be traced to labor, who’s mad as hell that Wal-Mart dares to operate in a non-union environment. This bill is but one more example of labor’s corporate campaign against Wal-Mart. They are ready in 30 other states to push a “fair share” initiative.

So here’s a Bronx cheer for the boneheaded Maryland legislature, and here’s a link to our press release from today, saying much the same. Maryland — the 11th costliest state in which to do business — just got a little costlier. Maybe the Maryland legislature ought to focus on making their state more — not less — attractive to business.