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A version of this letter was sent to Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles):



As you know, the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee is a group that meets weekly during the Annapolis legislative session to track and review proposed legislation and its impact on businesses in our community. After review, we wish to report to you and the entire delegation our strong opposition to HB735/SB698, the Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act, and HB 1204/SB683, the Maryland Wage and Hour Law.

Regarding HB735/SB698, it is our belief that this is a private, negotiated benefit between an employer and employee. Only two other states, as well as the District of Columbia and the city of San Francisco, Calif., have adopted similar laws.

This legislation will create minimally $200 million in additional costs to Maryland employers at a time when we are at significant competitive disadvantages in the region. It will be particularly burdensome to Charles County businesses.

HB 1204/SB683 proposes a nearly 38 percent increase in the current minimum wage by 2015, ties future increases to local CPI and/or the federal minimum wage, and expands the law to thousands of reasonably excluded employee classifications.

This mandate will dramatically increase small business labor costs, result in reduced productivity, increase consumer costs and promote an economically debilitating inflationary spiral. Our businesses cannot absorb this kind of forced increase in operating costs in a less-than-robust economic growth environment.

The chamber of commerce appreciates the support you have exhibited to our business community over the years. Knowing that you understand the importance of a climate that encourages healthy employment opportunities, we would appreciate your consideration of our strong opposition to these bills, as both could and likely would erode the ability of our businesses to maintain the levels of employment currently enjoyed by our citizens.



Craig J. Renner, Waldorf

The writer is the president of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce.