RSVP to Picket the MoCo Democratic Central Committee
Ball Saturday May 11, 5:30 pm at the Marriott North Bethesda, 5701 Marinelli Rd., Rockville with:
- Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO
- Montgomery County Young Democrats
- Prince George's County Young Democrats
- UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO
- Progressive Maryland
- FOP Lodge 35
- IAFF Local 1664
- Fund Our Communities
Here's why. Last fall the Central Committee actively supported county ballot Question B to take away a key bargaining right for Montgomery County public safety employees, despite urging by organized labor that it remain neutral or oppose the affront to first responders. It was only the latest anti-worker, anti-union action by the Committee. Its fundraiser Saturday provides an important opportunity to send a clear message of solidarity in support of working families. Our coalition urges your participation and respectfully requests that no one cross the picket line or otherwise patronize the event.
Progressive Maryland, like its labor and community allies, supports the progressive positions and efforts of Democratic legislators, candidates and groups when they serve to further and protect the interests of working families. But as a nonpartisan grassroots advocacy organization, it is equally important that we confront, expose and oppose them when they do otherwise. Please RSVP now and join us Sat.
Progressive Maryland Statement on May 6 Montgomery
County Council Vote to Fast-track Walmart Development
Silver Spring, Md., May 6, 2013 - Progressive Maryland Executive Director Kate Planco Waybright released the following statement May 6:
"We are disappointed by the Montgomery County Council’s vote today to fast-track Walmart’s move into Aspen Hill," said Kate Planco Waybright, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland.
"In the past week, Progressive Maryland members residing in Montgomery County sent over 1100 emails to Councilmembers urging opposition to today’s vote. Research shows that Walmart is bad for communities.1 The neighborhoods where Walmarts open are left with higher poverty rates and more food-stamp usage than places where the retailer does not expand. A study published in the Journal of Urban Economics examined about 3,000 Walmart store openings nationally and found that each store caused a net decline of about 150 jobs as competing retailers downsized and closed.2 This is not what working families and small business owners in Montgomery County need. We will continue to organize community members to oppose businesses who pay poverty wages." (See our member's letter in the May 8 Gazette.)
2013 General Assembly ends with working
family gains, but much remains for 2014
The 2013 legislative session that concluded April 8 resulted in some significant progressive victories including: repeal of the death penalty, pregnant workers protection, expansion of absentee and early voting plus same day registration, and others. But as the confetti dropped to commemorate Sine Die, it was clear the struggle to secure economic self-sufficiency for working families must continue as intensely as ever in 2014. Meanwhile, Maryland's income and wealth disparity will continue to reflect that of our nation's until our lawmakers enact policies that would ensure all share fairly in our economic prosperity.
The chart below lists Progressive Maryland’s priority bills with descriptions, outcomes and links to the texts.
||Summary of the Bill
|Living Wage Expansion
|This important bill expands the number of workers covered in the 2007 Living Wage Law that lifted tens of thousands of Maryland workers out of poverty.
||This legislation failed after SB 756 received an unfavorable report from the Senate Finance Committee.
|Instead of candidates raising large contributions from wealthy donors, a voluntary system of public financing of elections allows candidates to run for office by collecting many small donations and receiving public funds to run their campaign. SB 584 and HB 1044 set up a pilot program for General Assembly races. SB 583 simply allows the counties to engage in a public financing of elections program if they so desire.
||SB 584, 583 and HB 1044 did not move out of their respective committees. However the robust Campaign Finance Act of 2013, which passed, rolled in elements of SB 583 and enabled counties to set up their own public financing systems.
|Make Combined Reporting Mandatory
|Combined reporting levels the playing field for small businesses that 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 for those profits alone - just as Maryland-based businesses do.
||This legislation failed after SB 469 received an unfavorable report from the Senate Budget & Tax Committee, in a close vote of 7-6.
|Earned Sick and Safe Time Act
|Everyone gets sick and everyone deserves time to recover without risking economic stability, yet in Maryland more than 700,000 of our neighbors are forced to make impossible choices: go to work sick, send a sick child to school or daycare, or stay home and sacrifice much-needed income or, worse, risk job loss. This bill allows employees to earn at least 1 hour of paid sick and safe leave, at the same rate and with the same benefits as the employee normally earns, for every 30 hours an employee works.
This legislation failed after HB 735 received an unfavorable report from the Business Regulations subcommittee within Economic Matters.
|Raise the Minimum Wage
|While corporate profits are at an all-time high, wages are stagnant and working families in Maryland are falling behind. At just $7.25 an hour, our state’s minimum wage is leaving hard working families in poverty. This bill raises the minimum wage in Maryland to $10 over the next few years and indexes it to inflation.
||This legislation failed when SB 683 received an unfavorable report by the Senate Finance Committee.
|Repeal the Death Penalty
|The death penalty is a wasteful use of scarce public safety dollars. It's time to end the practice in Maryland and this new law will do just that.
||Passed! Awaiting the Governor's signature.
|Expanding Voter Access
|This Administration bill increases the number of early voting centers in certain counties; establishes an eight-day early voting period for the 2014 and future elections; allows for an individual to register to vote and subsequently vote during early voting at an early voting center; and makes specified changes to absentee voting provisions, including expanding and clarifying the methods by which a voter may request to receive an absentee ballot.
||Passed! Awaiting the Governor's signature.
|Civil Rights Tax Fairness Act
|This bill would restore the nontaxable status of noneconomic damages recovered in civil rights claims and allow Marylanders to subtract noneconomic damages from their federal adjusted gross income on their state tax returns. It does not change the taxation of back pay or other economic damages.
||Passed! Awaiting the Governor's signature.
|Fairness for All
|This bill prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations, labor and employment, and housing.
||This legislation failed when the the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee gave it an unfavorable report.
|Pregnant Workers Protection SB 784
|This bill requires an employer to explore specified means of reasonable accommodation for pregnancy
||Passed! Awaiting the Governor's signature.
|Lockheed Martin Carve Out
|This bill mandates that Montgomery County exempt from Lockheed Martin from paying the county hotel tax on its private hotel.
||Unfortunately the General Assembly passed SB 631. Thankfully, the retroactive payment of $1.4 million was amended out before passage.
While we celebrate our 2013 wins, today we begin efforts to achieve greater gains for working families next year. You can count on PM and our allies to continue educating lawmakers all year about these vital reforms and to re-introduce and do all we can in 2014 to pass the bills that failed. Once passed, we know lawmakers will take pride in doing the right thing as they did in 2006 to pass Progressive Maryland’s bill to raise the minimum wage, and in 2007 to enact our statewide Living Wage bill, the first in the nation. They also know a pro-worker agenda wins elections, including the quickly coming 2014 Democratic primary.
I'd be remiss not to take a moment to thank you for all you did for working families this session. Using Progressive Maryland’s website alone, you sent nearly 10,000 messages to lawmakers in support of policies to make life better for working families. That’s in addition to the scores of you who joined us at rallies, our bus tour, making calls, delivering petitions, lobbying and much more. Please accept our heartfelt appreciation for your ongoing commitment. It makes all the difference!
There are many exciting things on the horizon: the launch of our new website, membership gatherings across the state, the release of the 2013 session scorecard, a summer barbecue, and much more. We look forward to sharing it all with you.
PS: Can you chip in $9 or more today to signify the 9 months
remaining until the next legislative session?
Progressive Maryland's Working Family Agenda
For more than ten years, Progressive Maryland has built power for working families in Maryland. We are a grassroots, nonprofit organization of more than 23,000 members and supporters and over 35 affiliated religious, community, and labor organizations. In 2013, Progressive Maryland will continue its work organizing people to win social and economic justice for all focused on these priority areas:
- Fair Taxes & Balanced Budgets
- Economic Justice for All
- Fair Elections & Progressive Leadership
- Social Justice for All
Fair Taxes & Balanced Budgets
For far too long the Free State has put forth an operating budget that benefits wealthy people and corporations thanks to corporate giveaways and unfair tax policies at the expense of working and middle class families. It's time to end misguided economic policies of the past.
- We support legislation to make combined reporting law in Maryland. Combined reporting prevents any large multi-state corporation to slash or eliminate the taxes they pay to Maryland through accounting strategies that take advantage of weaknesses in our tax law. We will continue efforts to make combined reporting law in Maryland. Read more below.
Many working and middle class families are hurting while the richest are getting richer and corporations cut wages and benefits and ship our jobs overseas. To build a strong middle class, we need our government and employers to work for all of us, not just the rich and powerful.
- We support legislation to raise the minimum wage in Maryland. Research shows that nearly 278,000 workers in Maryland would be directly helped by an increase in the minimum wage.
- We support legislation to 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.
Fair Elections & Democracy
Progressive Maryland believes that in order for democracy to flourish in the Free State, we must work to maximize voter participation and protect voters' rights.
- We support legislation to create a voluntary system of public financing of elections. Instead of candidates raising large contributions from wealthy donors, a voluntary system of public financing of elections allows candidates to run for office by collecting many small donations and receiving public funds to run their campaign. It puts elections back in the hands of voters, and is proven to increase small donor participation in campaigns.
- We support legislation to allow same day voter registration during early voting and on Election Day in Maryland. We are committed to bringing thousands of Marylanders into the political process through same-day voter registration.
Justice for All
Following our state's recent impressive legislative and electoral accomplishments in instituting marriage equality and the Dream Act, more must be done to protect thousands of Maryland residents' right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"; who are now denied it. To this end we direct particular effort to passing three timely and winnable measures.
- We support legislation to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. A 2008 study commissioned by the Abell Foundation found that the average death penalty case adds almost $2 million extra to the state's costs, and that having the punishment has cumulatively cost the state $186 million. The death penalty is a wasteful use of scarce public safety dollars.
- We support legislation to end discrimination of transgender people because no one deserves to be fired, refused work, denied housing, education or credit, or suffer harassment or violence just because of who they are.
- We support the Civil Rights Tax Fairness Act. This bill would restore the nontaxable status of noneconomic damages recovered in civil rights claims and allow Marylanders to subtract noneconomic damages from their federal adjusted gross income on their state tax returns. It does not change the taxation of back pay or other economic damages.
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 -- bringing 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 for those profits 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 created 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 reform proposal. Corporation profits have now reached record levels nationally, while growth in household incomes and consumer expenditures has been much weaker.
State Lawmakers, Legislation and Elections
Federal and Other Action and Resource Links
Sign up for our action alerts and news