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  • Index the Minimum Wage

    Progressive Maryland is one of the leading organizations working in coalition that succeeded recently in raising Maryland's Minimum Wage to $10.10 per hour over three years, and local minimum wage rates to $11.50 per hour in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties and Washington, DC. While so many working and middle class families are struggling to get by, the richest keep getting richer and the corporations they own continue to cut wages and benefits, and ship our jobs and hide their assets overseas. To build a strong middle class, we need to make our government and employers work for all of us, not just the rich and powerful. Labor rights and livable wages Over the years, PM has led the fight in Maryland that has won better protections and conditions for workers and raised the minimum wage in 2006. In 2007 Maryland enacted the nation’s first statewide Living Wage law, requiring large, for-profit corporations with a state service contract to pay those workers enough to live without food stamps. Raise the minimum wage Research shows that nearly 300,000 workers in Maryland would be directly helped by an increase in the minimum wage. Beyond the now mandated increase to $10.10 per hour over three years, -- barely a livable wage for a family of four. And we continue our efforts to achieve a reasonable increase for tipped workers, too, and peg all increases to inflation. Establish a paid sick days standard for Maryland by requiring employers to allow workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick days. Forty percent of Maryland’s private-sector workers – nearly 820,000 people – have no option to take time off with pay if they’re ill, according to estimates from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Other Economic Justice Issues and Accomplishments Read More
  • Voter Owned Elections

    Progressive Maryland fights for publicly funded elections because this proven reform takes wealthy corporate money out of elections and restores power to everyday voters. For democracy to flourish in “The Free State,” Progressive Maryland believes we must work diligently to protect voters’ rights, maximize voter education and participation, and minimize the domination and corrupting influence of money in elections and our political processes. To these ends, we focus on the four areas described below with summaries of our progress and achievements to date. Campaign Funding Progressive Maryland works closely with Public Campaign, Common Cause and other groups to combat the domination of big money corrupting American politics and destroying representative government. PM supports passage of a constitutional amendment to nullify the Supreme Court’s tragic ruling in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (January 21, 2010) and corporations’ bogus legal standing as “persons.” Voluntary Public Financing of Political Campaigns A voluntary system of public financing of elections allows qualified candidates to run for office by collecting many small donations and receiving public funds to run their campaigns. It is a powerful alternative to our current system that forces candidates to raise large contributions from wealthy and corporate donors who then typically expect special access and influence. This badly needed reform is already the law in Connecticut, Maine, and Arizona, where it is decreasing the power of wealthy special interests while increasing the power of ordinary voters and small donor participation. Progressive Maryland and allies have succeeded in getting it passed nearly every year it was introduced in the Maryland House, and has come within one vote of passage in the Senate. In 2013, we won a partial victory in passage of the robust Campaign Finance Act, which enables counties to set up their own public financing systems. PM is committed to both supporting counties to implement this reform and passage of legislation to implement it statewide for state candidates in the near future. Voter Participation PM works to register voters, especially among working families and historically disenfranchised minorities, encourage participation, and pass legislation to make both voting and registration easier. Our successes include enactment of early voting in 2010 and online voter registration in 2011. In 2013 we helped pass bills that increase the number of early voting centers in certain counties; establish an eight-day early voting period for the 2014 and future elections; expand and clarifies the methods by which voters may request absentee ballots; and allow same-day registration at an early voting centers, bringing thousands more Marylanders into the political process. Electing Progressive Candidates Every election Progressive Maryland helps to register voters and inform them about issues, candidates, poll locations and times, and the vital importance of voting. For example in 2010, 86 of 93 candidates PM endorsed and actively supported won election to state, county and federal office. But our service to voters continues well after each election, as we fight for the interests and needs of working families and represent them with their elected officials in each General Assembly and in Congress. We also help them hold lawmakers accountable by reporting regularly on both their representatives’ responses, votes, and leadership and how each helps or hurts their interests. Back to Issues Read More
  • Earned Sick Days

    Everyone gets sick and everyone deserves the opportunity to recover without risking income or job loss. Back to Issues and Campaigns Read More
  • Progressive Taxation

    Progressive Maryland believes that a fair tax system asks all to contribute to the cost of government services based on their ability to pay. Our state can not allow wealthy corporations to evade paying their fair share. For far too long Maryland lawmakers have implemented operating budgets that unfairly shortchange the needs of working and middle class families in favor of the wealthy and corporations. The latter contribute massively to politicians' electoral campaigns, and then lobby them intensely to secure corporate giveaways, unfair tax policies, and weak regulation. Maryland must reform our antiquated and grossly unfair fiscal structures and raise significant additional revenue to overcome the many challenges we face: lost jobs and tax revenue, a Chesapeake Bay in declining health, children schooled in trailers, commuters often trapped in gridlock traffic, and so on. But lawmakers will only end the misguided economic policies of the past, reduce the burden on working families, and ensure sufficient revenue to fund the public services we all depend on, in response to massive grassroots pressure from Progressive Maryland supporters and allies on the following. Combined Reporting and Closing Corporate Loopholes Progressive Maryland has led the growing fight to crack down on corporate loopholes in our state and helped close the most notorious corporate loophole, The Delaware Holding Company Scam, ringing hundreds of millions more into the state coffers. But the only way to fully ensure the end to such corrupt practices is through "combined reporting," a method by which the state ensures all of a corporation's profits are properly recorded and taxed accordingly. Combined reporting would add equity and levels the playing field for small businesses, which compete against national chains that pay no corporate income tax in Maryland. It requires multi-state corporations to add together all the profit from all their subsidiaries, calculate how much of it was generated in our state, and pay tax on that amount alone, just as Maryland-based businesses do. Already enacted in 23 of the 45 states with corporate incomes, it is the most effective means of countering complex tax avoidance schemes devised by corporate lawyers and accountants to hide profits in other states using tax shelters and subsidiaries, which they only create for tax avoidance purposes. The Maryland Comptroller's office has estimated that if combined reporting had been in effect in 2007, a typical year, the state would have collected $92 million to $144 million in additional tax, depending on the details of the specific reform proposal. In this fifth year of economic crisis, corporation profits have reached record high levels nationally, while household incomes and consumer expenditures remain virtually stagnant. Progressive Maryland will rally all the support it can to make combined reporting the law in Maryland in the 2014 election-year session. Abolishing other tax giveaways and breaks Progressive Maryland continues efforts to end special tax giveaways and breaks that cost our state tens of millions each year. In 2013 modest progress was made in this direction with passage of the Tax Credit Evaluation Act. We also collaborated with Fund Our Communities to kill a terrible provision of the Lockheed Martin tax exemption bill that would have required Montgomery County to reimburse the highly profitable giant military contractor $1.4 million in taxes it already paid for its private hotel facility in Bethesda. Unfortunately the General Assembly still mandated the county, overriding its own county council, to exempt the firm from its hotel tax at a loss of nearly a half-million dollars in badly needed revenue every year. Past Fair Tax Accomplishments Read More
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  • Urge the MoCo Council to Pass Fair Elections +

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