MD Chamber and Retailers Appear to Make U Turn on Unemployment Insurance Deal

On Monday we reported that the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Maryland Retailers Association were close to a “deal” read sell out to the O’Malley administration on changes to Maryland’s unemployment insurance fund.

We were extremely critical of their decision as all too often Maryland business representatives sell out their constituents for the bone O’Malley deigns to throw them.

According to an email obtained by Red Maryland from Chamber president Kathleen Snyder to Senator Mac Middleton, it appears the Chamber and MRA have reversed course.

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From: Kathleen Snyder
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:33 PM
To: Middleton, Thomas Senator Cc: Burt, Tami; Ronald Adler; Allyson Black;
Subject: Md Chamber and MRA position on UI bill
Importance: High

Sen.Middleton, let me personally thank you for your leadership on trying to build compromise on the UI bills this session. While the business community did not ask for the bills as drafted, the Maryland Chamber’s and Maryland Retailers’ representatives on the UI Oversight Committee, our members and those of many local chambers throughout the State appreciate the Administration’s and your efforts to address the issue in Maryland. After three months of good faith negotiating, the Maryland Chamber and the Maryland Retailers jointly believe that these complex issues, including those of the most recent proposed amendments, deserve further vetting by the UI Oversight Committee after session. Therefore, we will continue to oppose the bill.

Specifically: The Chamber strongly supports the payment plan option and reduced
(0.5%) interest rate which would provide cash flow relief to employers throughout Maryland.

We have consistently stressed this point throughout the process and fully support them. We trust DLLR will move forward with the payment option plan administratively since that is the key issue impacting small businesses.

We do not support moving from Table F to Table E under any circumstances v We are concerned about the intended and unintended consequences of the various proposed benefit changes, and feel that they would benefit from the wisdom and more complete vetting by the UI Oversight Committee.

We are uncertain that the latest proposal re disregarded wages would guarantee the cost neutrality that we were seeking and even more uncertainty about future decisions regarding offsets by the Secretary of DLLR, with or without the consent of the UI Oversight Committee.

The Maryland Chamber and the MRA support the immediate action of passage of the payment plan and the reduced interest rate, with the UI Oversight Committee taking our original offsets as well as the Administration’s under review after the session since there is no apparent agreement on any of them. Thank you for working with us. We look forward to continuing discussions in the future.

Kathy Snyder, CCE, President/CEO
Maryland Chamber of Commerce

Good to see the Chamber and MRA finally found their backbone.

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