MD Chamber and Retailers Sell Out and Cut a Deal With O’Malley on Unemployment Insurance

It appears the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Retailers Association are close to cutting a deal with the O’Malley administration on unemployment insurance.

After initially opposing O’Malley’s modernization plan, which included federal stimulus, the Chamber and Retailers have agreed to the plan in return for “offsets” the two organizations believe will mitigate the increased liabilities state businesses will face in accepting federal dollars.
Red Maryland has obtained an email from chamber president, Kathleen Snyder sent to local members over the weekend and the document outlining the proposed amendments.

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We are in the final discussions about the UI modernization bill that has undergone many changes since our last Chamber Action Network alert. The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Mac Middleton has asked us to verify that local chambers are in agreement with the Maryland Chamber and the Maryland Retailers Association that:

1. We embrace the payment plan and reduced interest rate options identified in the bill. This will help small businesses pay their taxes easier during these tough economic times. We appreciate the Administration’s and Sen. Middleton’s recognition of this important measure and urge implementation of those components immediately.

2. We are grateful that the Administration has heard our concerns that taking the $127 million in economic stimulus funds would cause long term liability costs to employers throughout Maryland. A number of offsets have been proposed and the Maryland Chamber agrees that the amendments would nearly balance out the liability as long as no funds are taken from the Trust Fund, meaning we should stay in Table F for 2010 and not move to Table E. Such a move would reduce the amount of funds going into the Trust Fund and thereby continue to negatively impact the long term health of the fund.

UI – Outline of Proposed Amendments 2-5-10[1]

Got that. There is no guarantee that O’Malley will agree to the proposed offset amendments to a bill, which the Chamber opposes. There is only a demand from Mac Middleton and O’Malley that the Chamber and Retail Association “embrace” what scraps O’Malley sees fit to give them and be “grateful” that he even bothered to listen to their concerns.

At the GOP pre-session briefing last month Delegate Ron George scolded the Chamber representatives for taking “the wind out my sails.” Meaning that too often the Chamber lacks the courage of it’s convictions and sells out it’s members for the serving of thin gruel O’Malley and the Democrats’ table.

There’s a sentiment that O’Malley dislikes business. That isn’t entirely true. He likes politically reliable business, and by continuing to lie prostrate before him, like a dog hoping for a bone from it’s master, O’Malley can safely rely on business representatives to roll over.

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