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  • 02/01/2018 1:08 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    February 2018

    SCBA members:

    The Legislature is in session. We have to keep focus on proposed laws that affect small business. We are fortunate to have a number of pro-business Senators and Delegates representing us in Annapolis.

    Delegate April Rose sent me a proposed new law on Paid Sick Leave. Rather than try to explain it, I am simply forwarding her entire email. Read it, decide how it may affect your business if passed, and consider going to Annapolis to testify FOR or AGAINST it. As I have told you every year, YOU know more about how a law may affect small business more than the people who MAKE the laws.

    Larry Helminiak

    From:Rose, April Delegate [mailto:Delegate.A.Rose@house.state.md.us]
    Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2018 11:42 AM
    To: 'larry@goplarry.com' <larry@goplarry.com>
    Subject: FW:Hogan Administration Takes Action to Help Small Businesses Comply With Flawed Paid Sick Leave Bill

    Larry – please share this with the South Carroll Business Association.

    The Governor has assigned a single point person within DLLR to assist businesses with implementation of the mandatory sick pay bill. There is a link below. Compliance is required in 30 days.

    April

    For immediate release:
    January 15, 2018
    Contact: Shareese Churchill shareese.churchill@maryland.gov410-974-2316



    Hogan Administration Takes Action to Help Small Businesses Comply With Flawed Paid Sick Leave Bill
    Executive Order Creates Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance; Governor Continues to Push Compromise Legislation

    ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with House Bill 1 (HB1), the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly over the governor’s veto. As stipulated in the Maryland Constitution under Article II, Sec. 24, the Maryland General Assembly has 50 days to consent or pass a resolution of disapproval.

    We all agree that hardworking Marylanders need and deserve access to paid leave, and our administration is committed to providing these benefits to workers without crushing small mom-and-pop businesses and killing thousands of jobs,” said Governor Hogan. “Now that legislators have openly admitted that there are serious problems with the bill that they passed, I hope we can all come together to find real, common sense solutions. In the meantime, it is our responsibility to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that our small businesses can continue to create good jobs for thousands of Marylanders.”

    The order reorganizes state government to create the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, directs the Governor’s Business Ombudsman Randall Nixon to serve as Executive Director, and moves employees from the Office of Small Business Resources under the Department of Commerce to staff the new office. The office will be housed and report directly to Secretary Kelly Schulz within the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, the agency tasked with promulgating regulations for the new law.

    A strong and healthy workforce benefits all Marylanders, and the Hogan administration is committed to expanding access to paid leave for workers,” said Nixon. “The Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance stands ready to help businesses provide these benefits for their employees while ensuring they can continue to grow Maryland’s economy and create jobs.”

    Immediately upon establishment of the office, Nixon contacted the over 1,000 small businesses and workers who previously provided their information to the governor’s Committee on Paid Leave Policy in order to solicit their input and provide a venue to address their concerns. He also contacted every member of the Maryland General Assembly, asking them to refer any small businesses in their districts now being mandated to comply with the new law.

    The governor’s order specifies that the new office will assist businesses with the implementation of the new law, facilitate responsiveness of state government to small business needs, and serve as a central clearinghouse of information for business assistance programs and services available in the state. The office will be required to report to the governor and the legislature regarding problems encountered by small businesses complying with the law and its regulations and recommend policy improvements and solutions.

    The governor’s order follows widespread calls by legislators to fix serious flaws in HB1 and delay the bill’s implementation by 90 days due to its potential negative impact on small businesses. The governor continues to call on the legislature to pass his Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018, which would address HB1’s most punitive provisions for employers, and his Small Business Relief Tax Credit, which will provide direct aid to help with compliance costs. Leading legislators indicated willingness to take up the governor’s proposals following last week’s vote.

    For more than a year, I have implored legislators to work with us in a bipartisan fashion to make sure we get this right for Maryland workers and job creators. There is still time to work together to ensure our small businesses and workers are protected and provided the benefits they need,” said the governor.

    In November 2016, Governor Hogan became the first Republican governor in the nation to advocate for paid sick leave legislation by proposing the Common Sense Paid Leave Act of 2017. The legislature did not act on the governor’s bill and instead passed HB1, which the governor vetoed while simultaneously announcing actions to expand paid leave benefits within the executive branch of state government and creating the Committee on Paid Leave Policy to study the issue. After conducting in-depth research and over 100 interviews with workers and business owners across the state, the Committee issued its final report to the governor in November 2017, which identified key flaws in HB1 and recommended solutions. The governor subsequently proposed the Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018 and the Small Business Relief Tax Credit, both of which are pending before the General Assembly.

    Maryland small business operators and workers can contact the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance atSmall.Business@Maryland.gov.

  • 01/02/2018 1:06 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    Letter from Larry Helminiak, Government Relations Committee Chair:

    If you’re reading this on the SCBA page, you are likely the owner of a small business.

    I went in business in 1969.    There were rules and regulations regarding the insulation business but you could fit them all in a small binder.   

    Year after year after year, politicians and government agencies have added rules to the point that no one knows them all, and if you break one, you need a lawyer to defend yourself, and even the LAWYER has to look it up to defend you.

    There are rules on how to treat your employees.  There are rules regarding your company vehicles.  Pretty soon some counties in Maryland will have more rules regarding employee compensation depending upon how many employees you have.  

    Labor laws served a purpose.  They fixed a lot of problems and we are all better off now because of them. The issue many people have is that government has gone from an impartial judge to having its thumb on the scale against companies.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) became a partisan joke.   Now a new general counsel has taken over and a lot of stuff is going to get fixed.  Critics will say that it’s favoring business over workers.  But the pendulum is still dramatically on the side of the workers.   Business owners don’t want to tilt things back to the day when workers had no rights.  They just want things to be a little closer to fair.

    A growing economy fixes a lot of labor issues.  Low unemployment means workers who don’t like their situations can easily go find another one.  Companies with growing revenues can afford to pay more for quality workers.  Everyone wins.  But when regulation is so burdensome that companies and employers choose not to invest money into their businesses because they don’t see a chance of earning a return on it, everyone loses.

    When Donald Trump was elected he promised that for every ONE new regulation he signs into law he will eliminate TWO old regulations.    A report came out recently which stated that since January of 2017, for every NEW regulation at the Federal Level, SIXTEEN existing regulations have been removed from the books.   Let’s hope this continues.

  • 12/07/2017 11:30 AM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    Dear SCBA Members and friends,

    In the past week, we celebrated Thanksgiving.   Historically, it is said that the first Thanksgiving was in 1621, after the Pilgrims had their first harvest in the New World.   The first official Thanksgiving was declared by President Abraham Lincoln on November 26, 1863.

    There are many things to be thankful for but I think that being fortunate enough to have been born in the United States ranks up there near the top.   What other country has people trying so hard to get IN?

    When I was actively employed, I was in the insulation contracting business.   Insulation manufacturers, to entice you to buy their itchy product rather than their competitor’s itchy product, would offer foreign trips as prizes.   Buy this many dollars  worth of a particular brand in a set period of time and win a trip to an exotic place for you and your wife.  

    Over the years, we were able to go to Europe, Hong Kong, Africa and even Australia.    There was one thing that most of the people we met had in common.  They knew as much about the United States as many Americans do.   Wherever you went to shop, the sales people spoke English.  They knew our cities and often asked if I lived in New York.  

    Whether you like or don’t like who is holding a particular political office at a given point is time, or what political party they belong to, isn’t all that important.   What is important is that there are over 6 billion people on earth and only 300 million of them live in the United States of America.   That’s one out of twenty.  

    Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, take the time to thank God for living here.

    Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.  

    Sincerely,

    Larry Helminiak

  • 11/01/2017 9:02 AM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    Pretty soon, the legislators that we elected will be in session in Annapolis. If you’ve never visited the capitol to watch laws being made, you should go. It is a process that is beneficial to all citizens. And you may not know that tours are available! Please visit this web site for information: http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdstatehouse/html/tours.html

    There are other options for tours as well. If you're interested, a gentleman named John Wafer, who was the secretary for MdGOP for several years, holds trips to Annapolis for high school students during the Legislative session. His tour is generally open to high school students and their chaperones, with a preference to those 16 and older. The trip would include a visit to the balcony to watch the General Assembly in session and lunch. A typical itinerary includes the following: arrive in Annapolis by 11:45 am, have lunch with the delegation at noon, tour the Statehouse at 1:15, get a photo with Governor if possible, sit in on Legislative hearings from 3:00 to 5:00. If the group chooses the day that Carroll County has a reception, they should be invited.

    If you are interested in finding out more information, please contact Mr. Wafer directly at jdwafer@verizon.net or 410-262-3170.

    Very sincerely,

    Larry Helminiak

    Government Relations Committee Chair

    SCBA board member

  • 10/10/2017 1:39 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)

    If you’re reading this letter, you are likely to be a small business owner or work for a small business.  It is likely that you joined SCBA to help your business, and that’s good.    That’s one step toward making your business grow.  All of us want to do what we can to help our business.

    Are you registered to vote?   Are your employees registered to vote?   Keep in mind that the people who make the laws that affect your business have to get elected to be able to pass these laws.  

    I’ve heard so many people over the years say that their one vote won’t make a difference.   So how can you make your vote count the most?  I have a suggestion.

    Before going further, let me say that I am a member of the Republican Central Committee of Carroll County.   If you go to the local fire department carnivals you may have seen me working the voter registration booth.   That experience has actually allowed me access to a number of unregistered voters. 

    The majority of new voters we sign up are students just coming of age to vote.   I give them the card.  When they hand it back, the overwhelming majority of them fill in “unaffiliated.”   At that point I ask them to sit down and we have a talk.  I ask them why they don’t want their vote to count.  They seem shocked.   Here are some points to be made

    ·         Unaffiliated (a.k.a.  independent) voters, in a primary election, can only vote for school board.

    ·         Unaffiliated voters can’t vote in local OR national Democratic OR Republican primaries as primaries are only reserved for voters who are registered as members of that party.  If you are a registered member of the Green Party, for example, you can only vote for Green Party candidates in primaries, on both the national & local level – and that’s, of course, only if there are any!  This rule applies to all party affiliations.

    ·         In many primary elections, particularly local ones, the eventual winner is determined.

    o        In Carroll County, no Democrat has been elected in this century, for any office except school board.

    o        In Baltimore City, Theodore R. McKeldin was the last Republican elected as mayor,  and that was in 1963, 54 years ago.

    o        There are some jurisdictions that go back and forth between parties, but some jurisdictions typically vote solidly one way or the other with long standing regularity.  For example, Carroll County is known for its strong Republican voter base and Baltimore City is known for typically electing Democratic candidates.

    My point is that, if you want your vote to count, and live in a jurisdiction that goes with the same party election after election after election, in order for your vote to affect the outcome, it is worth carefully thinking about whether it is in your best interests to register with the party that usually wins in that jurisdiction.  This may be especially meaningful if it is common for that district to ONLY have candidates from the leading party.  It does not mean that you agree with the national party line – although it will mean that you will only be able to vote in your registered party’s national or local primaries.   But this method may give you an opportunity to make your vote count on the local level.

  • 09/10/2017 4:38 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    Democracy or Republic

    I can’t help but notice, on TV and in the papers, how often the United States is referred to as a Democracy, rather than a Republic.  

    On August 9th, on the Wall Street Journal editorial page (A 14), Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, Washington, wrote a letter entitled “School Vouchers Diminish Public Education.”

    A few excerpts from the submission include the following :

    1)      Regarding your editorial:  Randi Weingarten’s “Racism Rant” (July 24) Public education is, and has always been, foundational to our democracy.

    2)       ……………while also detailing the threats public schools and our democracy

    3)      Our collective response to that question will determine whether our democracy gets stronger

    Or comes apart

    This person is PRESIDENT of the American Federation of Teachers and in one letter referred to the United States, three times, as a Democracy instead of a Republic.    Is this what our kids are being taught?  If so, it has to stop.  

    I ask all of you with kids to ask them to name our form of government and see if they answer that it is a Democracy or a Republic.  It’s important, and they need to know the difference.  I pulled the following paragraph off the internet. These are not my words but are rather the words pulled from the internet.  See:  http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-democracy-and-republic/

    The main difference is that in the case of democracy the majority rules, whereas in a Republic the Government rules according to law.  Both of them are governed by constitution too.  In a republic the government rules according to the law prescribed by men of caliber.  In a democracy, MOBOCRACY prevails.   Mobocracy can be defined as political control by a mob. 

    Think of the last election.   We’ve all heard that Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than Trump.  Trump won because he received more ELECTORAL COLLEGE votes.   Each state, based on population, receives a certain number of ELECTORAL votes.   Every state actually has a say.

    If we were a Democracy, politicians would spend ALL of their time in California, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois.     The population in these four  states, plus a small number from the other 46 states, would determine who is in power.

    Again, ask your school children the question.  If they answer DEMOCRACY, you need to spend some time teaching them from our Founding Papers.

  • 08/10/2017 3:35 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)

    SCBA letter for August, 2017

    Next time you see a grandfather’s clock, notice this.  For every TICK there is a TOCK.  In business, for every ACTION by   government  (the TICK) , there is a REACTION from business (the TOCK).

    The other night I saw a gathering of activists on TV and heard one gentlemen say,   “Every worker deserves a living wage.  We should raise the minimum wage to $ 15.00 an hour”.   I can assure you that this person never owned a business.

    The first minimum wage was in the late l950’s and was $ 1.00 per hour.  My father owned a neighborhood grocery store.   I remember working in the store and also remember some of the prices.   A loaf of bread was 10 cents.  A quart of milk was 21 cents.  A can of Campbell’s tomato soup was 15 cents. 

    I bought my first new car in 1964.  It was a beautiful Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible for which I paid a total of $ 3,250.00      A new convertible today would cost $ 40,000.

    When I got married, in 1969, my wife and I could go to MARS supermarket in Dundalk and buy a full bag of groceries for $ 15.00.   We rented a two bedroom apartment for $ 105.00 a month.

    My first house in Carroll County in 1969.  A 3 bedroom rancher with a full basement on Klee Mill Road,  for which  we  paid $ 19,500.00.   A couple of years ago it sold for almost $ 300,000.

    My 35,000 sq. ft. building on Venture Way, when I built it in 1983, costs $ 875,000, complete with finished offices.    The county says it’s now worth three times that.  I could go on; but you get the point.   

    One of my favorite sayings is "All plans are based on logic; all logic is based on assumption.  If the assumption is wrong, the plan will fail."

    The inescapable fact is that, when the federal  minimum wage goes up, the cost of you doing business goes up accordingly, and you have to raise your prices.   In the end, the worker does not benefit and the government has to raise the minimum wage again.

    TICK       TOCK     TICK       TOCK     TICK       TOCK

  • 07/02/2017 1:34 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    From Larry Helminiak, SCBA Board Member and Government Relations Chairperson

    July 2017

    I would guess that a high percentage of SCBA members vote.  At least, I would hope so.   I wonder how many voters actually understand exactly what determines what district we vote in, and why.  It’s called gerrymandering.

    All states, regardless of size, have two Senators who go to Washington.   In the House of Representatives, each state has a different number, from Montana with 1 to California with 53.   Why is that?  How are the 435 members assigned?

    Every 10 years, there is a national census.    Right now, the number of people living in the United States is about 330 million. The government takes the total number of people and divides it by the number of seats in the House of Representatives.     So we divide 330 million by 435 and come up with 758,620.  Each state will get  ONE Representative for every 758,620 residents.   Maryland, with 6 million residents,  has eight, for now, based on the 2010 census.    That could change after the  2020 census.

    The big question is “Who determines what district I live in?” One would assume that this is an easy question to answer; but it’s not.    Get familiar with the word “GERRYMANDERING.”    What does it mean and where did the word come from?

    In the 1880’s, there was a governor of Massachusetts named Elbridge Gerry.    After one census, he influenced the division of the districts assigned to Massachusetts by drawing a map.  Even though the number of PEOPLE for each district was correct, he split the state so that it would give the advantage to his party.   When you looked at the map of districts, some were SO distorted that they looked like a SALAMANDER.     Thus, Gerry   +   Salamander   =    Gerrymandering.  It simply means that the map is drawn to the advantage of a particular party as opposed to simply geography.

    Of the 435 districts in the United States today, Maryland is the SECOND WORST in Gerrymandering.   A case will soon go to the Supreme Court to see if it can be simplified, eliminating Gerrymandering as much as possible.

    Whomever is Governor in 2020 will supervise how districts are drawn in Maryland.  How you vote in 2018 will determine how those districts are drawn.  

  • 06/01/2017 1:34 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    Maryland Government Affairs Update for June 2017

    There are two new Maryland laws that directly affect local businesses that SCBA would like to draw your attention to for evaluation as to how they might affect your business.

    The “More Jobs For Marylanders Act” was signed into law by Governor Hogan this month. This Legislation takes effect on June 1st, 2017. The bill provides tax incentives to eligible manufacturers that are designed to create jobs and provide workforce development initiatives for existing employees. New manufacturers that open shop in high unemployment tier 1 counties which include Western Maryland, the Eastern shore, and Baltimore City, will receive a 5.75% wage tax credit, a state property credit, and sales and use tax credits for ten years. State filing fees are also waived for companies that create at least 5 new jobs. Existing manufacturers can qualify for the property tax credit.

    The second bill that was passed addresses paid sick leave. This legislation states that part-time employees who work at least 12 hours a week are eligible to receive up to 5 paid sick days per year, earning 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. All companies with 15 or more employees are required to provide this mandatory paid leave once the employee is on the payroll for 106 days. The “106 day” test was put in place to aid businesses, such as those in Ocean City, who routinely hire seasonal employees. Governor Larry Hogan has vetoed this bill as of the distribution of this newsletter. Governor Hogan has stated that he feels strongly that it will be an undue burden on the small businesses which it largely affects. He had proposed that only businesses with more than 50 employees on one site be affected by the measure but that was rejected by the largely Democratic governing body. Hogan had also wanted to offer tax credits to smaller businesses in order to give them incentives and financial help to implement the measure. That was rejected also with opponents stating that Hogan hadn't offered a way to pay for the tax cuts. This is a hot-button issue with concerns for the financial health of small businesses on one side and employee safety nets on the other. Supporters argue that many employees spend much of their lives on the brink of financial difficulties and that not being allowed to take paid sick leave for themselves or for dependent care is unreasonable. However, detractors of the bill are adamant that it is a very difficult burden for many businesses to bear, especially small businesses that employ as few as 15 people. In all, Governor Hogan's veto will delay its implementation until the General Assembly meets in 2018 and could process a veto override. The bill did pass the General Assembly with a veto-proof margin assuming that all those who voted for the bill would also vote to override a veto. So, stay tuned for this one – but if you are a business with more than 15 employees, SCBA would suggest that you review how this bill may affect your policies and procedures so you are ready to handle it when it officially becomes law.

  • 05/10/2017 1:32 PM | Karen Sorrell (Administrator)
    Report for May Newsletter

    The legislative session in Annapolis is now over.    Following are some of the things that may or may have affected business owners.

    HB771 Public Health.     This bill streamlined and reduced the amount of effort a mobile food truck operator has to go through

    HB531 Labor and Employment – Labor Regulations – Right to Work.   29 states have enacted “right to Work” legislation.  This allows an employee to choose whether or not to join a union.  This bill failed .

    HB536 – Speed monitoring in Work Zones.     A bill to remove this failed.

    HB 100  Income Tax Subtraction Modification – Retirement Income of Law Enforcement, Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services Personnel.    This bipartisan initiative gives tax relief to First Responders and Emergency Response Personnel.  The first $ 15,000 of retirement income for first responders and emergency personnel who are at least 55 years old will not be subject to state tax.

    Paid Sick Leave   The General Assembly pushed forward with HB-1 Labor and Employment Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.  This legislation mandates up to 40 hours of “sick and safe” leave for employees who work for businesses with 15 or more employees.  In addition, HB 1 carries heavy fines for non-compliance.  This bill requires paid sick leave for part-time employees who work as little as 8 hours per week, and it does not exclude temporary seasonal employees. These provisions would allow a teenager working after school, as well as summer workers in Ocean City to qualify for paid sick leave.

    The greatest concern regarding this bill are the employees that could lose their “paid time off.  Many employees get PTO that can be used for any situation, illness, vacation, etc.  With the state requiring mandatory sick leave, employees may lose their flexible PTO as it is reclassified and can only be used for “sick leave.” 

    SB 317  -  More Jobs for Marylanders Act of 2017.   Is Governor’ Hogan’s jobs initiative that will spur job growth by providing tax incentives for new and existing manufacturers to hire more employees.  The bill targets jurisdictions across Maryland while giving priority to areas where job growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the state. These new business entities are required to offer job skill training programs or educational programs in order to foster a pipeline of potential workers.  The More Jobs for  Marylanders Act of 2017 will provide increase employment opportunities for areas across the state that need it most. 

    SB 307 Roadkill Repeal  During the 2016 Legislative Session, the General Assembly passed a highly-partisan bill that meddled in Maryland’s transportation policy.  “Fixing” a problem that did not exist, the bill manipulated the process by which major transportation projects were funded and skewed the preference towards funding mass transit projects in urban areas.  Earning the name “The Road Kill Bill”, the legislation’s scoring system would kill all but 7 of the 73 major priority transportation projects in the state, with  the vast majority of all funding going to Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.  Governor Hogan made the repeal of this bill his # 1 priority in the 2017 session.  A compromise was reached in the Senate and the bill was amended to delay implementation of the bill while a workgroup of legislators and transportation officials study and issue a report regarding the scoring system.  This bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate.

     

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