House Republicans Issue Statement on the Failure of Paid Sick Leave Delay

18565931 – a stamp with text “rejected”. white background.

House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga issued the following statement regarding the failure of legislation that would delay the implementation of Paid Sick Leave. Senate Bill 304 – Maryland Healthy Working Families Act – Delay of Effective Date would have delayed the implementation until July 1, giving businesses time to navigate the complex and confusing policy passed when the legislature overrode Governor Hogan’s veto in January. The legislation was killed in the Economic Matters Committee earlier today, with a vote of 12-11.
“While it comes as no surprise this bill was voted down, it is still very frustrating,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “There was no will to move this bill in the House, where political gain seems more important than doing the right thing for the job-creating businesses in our state.”

“I am very disappointed this bill did not move forward,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “But, there is still time and opportunity for the General Assembly to provide paid leave to workers without clobbering small businesses over the head. Governor Hogan’s Paid Leave Compromise Act is still on the table. I hope my colleagues will give this compromise the serious consideration it deserves and do what is best for the businesses in Maryland and the hard-working citizens they employ.”


A True Maryland Unemployment Story

The fact that Maryland’s unemployment number is at 6.4% for August (and higher than the national average) comes as no surprise to those who continue to be unemployed or underemployed. To them, that number may seem too small. It is.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes data on unemployment each month. The standard unemployment figure does not count those who are underemployed or workers who have dropped out of the labor market because they have become discouraged. We all know someone who has just given up on finding a job or is working part-time but wants to work full-time. Those folks are not even counted in the traditional unemployment report.

BLS does publish a separate report that includes “alternative measure of labor underutilization” to give a more realistic picture of unemployment. If you look at the most recent BLS U-6 chart (counting total unemployment, plus underemployment and job market dropouts) covering the third quarter of 2013 through second quarter 2014 you’re in for a shock. Our U-6 figure is a staggering 11.7%.

That means that 11.7% of all Marylanders are either unemployed, underemployed or have just given up. Does 11.7% sound like economic recovery to you?

That’s not all of the bad news. A leading Maryland economist recently stated that Maryland led the nation in job losses for August and is currently ranked 44th nationally in year over year job growth.

“Governing for Results” has been a theme of Governor O’Malley’s tenure. These are not results you will see in any of his feel-good press releases. The O’Malley-Brown administration has proudly supported economic decisions that may feel good for liberals, but are very bad for Maryland.

The House Republican Caucus is consistent in its support of responsible state spending, as well as laws and regulations that support the businesses and workers of Maryland. We want every citizen to have the opportunity to work and be live their lives without the burden of ever-increasing taxes and regulations that have been imposed on them by Democrats. Our caucus continues to fight for you.

Maryland Republican Leadership Issues Statement on Gov. Rick Perry’s Visit to Maryland

Annapolis, Md. – House and Senate Republican Leaders and the State Republican Party issued the following joint statement today commenting on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Visit to Maryland:

“It is no surprise that Gov. Rick Perry sees Maryland’s businesses as ripe for a cross country move to Texas, or anywhere else for that matter. Governor O’Malley’s record of more than 70 tax and fee increases, loss of more than 90,000 jobs, and an increasingly unfriendly business climate are just the tip of the iceberg forcing Maryland’s business owners out of the state.

But there is another option. The fixes needed to ignite the economy in Maryland are simple. We must make our tax rates competitive. By doing this one thing, small and large business will not be tempted out of state to far away places like Texas or to tax-friendly neighbor states like Virginia.

Instead of following Gov. Perry to Texas, business owners should stay and fight with their vote. We can put Maryland back on track if we elect a Republican Governor next year, along with many new Republican Delegates and Senators. Republican legislators continue to present business-friendly budgets and policies and fight the tax and spend Democrat myopia. Maryland can be a business-friendly state; we just need disgruntled citizens, business owners and tax payers to use their vote to de-throne the Democratic establishment.”

O’Malley/Brown Administration Gets Dizzy Spinning Jobs Numbers

It appears that the O’Malley/Brown Administration got a little dizzy while spinning the rather dismal July jobs report. Given that Maryland lost nearly 10,000 jobs last month, that’s understandable. It takes a lot of spin to try to turn that kind of job loss into anything positive.

In July, Maryland had the third worst job numbers in the country, and unemployment increased from 7% to 7.1%, while US unemployment “edged down.”

Governor O’Malley said in a statement that while the job numbers were disappointing, Maryland demonstrates “tremendous economic strength”.  He said that Maryland’s unemployment rate, while high, “remains four percent below the national average”. The Governor went on to mention, as he is wont to do, Maryland’s Triple A bond rating  – as if that’s related to jobs.

Let’s take a moment to peel back the layers of the O’Malley/Brown Administration’s self-serving rhetoric. The Unemployment Rate for the United States in July 2013 is 7.4%. Maryland’s unemployment rate rose to 7.1%. That is a 0.3% difference not a 4% difference as the Governor claims. Perhaps it is just more O’Malley/Brown Math, like their claims to have cut the budget as they have increased state spending by more than $7 billion.  They also failed to mention that the last three jobs reports have been bad for Maryland.

It is the worst kind of arrogance to tell people who have lost their jobs and families who are fighting to keep the wolves from the door that they should take comfort in the knowledge that their state has a great Triple A bond rating. What about the gas tax increase, sales tax increase, toll increases and fee increases that take money out of every family’s pocket in Maryland?  The time has long past for the O’Malley/Brown Administration to abandon the “Let Them Eat Cake” policy that has guided them, and yet they continue to repeat this nonsense while praising their progressive utopia.

Maryland’s alleged “economic strength” is as nonsensical as the rest of the drivel coming from the O’Malley/Brown Administration. If you really want to look at a state that can boast that title, you need only look across the Potomac to Virginia. Virginia is just as vulnerable to sequestration as Maryland is – if not more so. But if you compare the job numbers, you see two very different stories. Maryland’s July Unemployment rate was 7.1%, Virginia’s was 5.7%. Maryland lost 4,900 private sector jobs in July, while Virginia gained 4,100. According to the Tax Foundation, Maryland has lost more than 66,000 taxpayers between 2000 and 2010, with a loss of more than $5.5 billion in taxable income. On the other hand, Virginia gained nearly 129,000 new residents and an additional $1.1 billion in taxable income over that same time period (and before sequestration).

The reality of the situation is that the O’Malley/Brown Administration has been on a tax-and-spend frenzy since they were sworn into office in 2007. They blew through a surplus, increased taxes, tolls, and fees over 70 times and did NOTHING to soften the blow of the federal cutbacks that everyone knew were on the horizon. The havoc that the O’Malley/Brown policies will wreak on Maryland will be felt long after Governor O’Malley marches off to his next big gig. The sad part is that if the Governor had spent more time doing his job rather than running for his next job, the status of Maryland’s jobs would not be so bleak.

The House Republican Caucus realizes that tax relief is needed now if Maryland is to recover its strength and be a state where citizens can grow up, attend college, start businesses, raise families and retire without an ever-present hand in their wallets. Our Caucus is planning a significant tax relief package that will be introduced in advance of the 2014 Legislative Session. We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, citizens are encouraged to connect with us at and to share their ideas and experience.

Del. Nicholaus Kipke
House Minority Leader

Del. Kathy Szeliga
House Minority Whip