Liability protection, unemployment insurance taxes, and financial assistance on deck for General Assembly
The Maryland General Assembly convened for its 442nd session last Wednesday and by the conclusion of its first week back, several NFIB priorities were at the forefront.
Senate Bill 210, introduced by state Senator Chris West (R – Baltimore County), provides liability protection for small businesses from frivolous and unfounded lawsuits that exploit the already damaging effects of COVID-19. The growing risk of opportunistic lawsuits against Maryland small businesses poses a significant barrier in our ability to reignite the state’s economy. The bill will be heard by the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee on Tuesday, January 26.
Senate Bill 64, introduced by state Senator Johnny Ray Salling (R – Baltimore County), ensures Maryland small business owners do not see their unemployment insurance taxes go up as a result of forced layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill requires the Secretary of Labor to waive the charge of unemployment insurance benefits paid to a claimant during the pandemic against the earned rating record of an employer. NFIB expects several other bills to address the issue.
The recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn down the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund significantly. As a result, government officials are warning employers that UI payroll taxes will increase dramatically so the fund can remain solvent. NFIB is working with policy makers to mitigate that sudden hike by phasing the increase in over a number of years. Similar legislation was enacted in New Jersey earlier this year.
Other bills protecting Maryland small businesses from increased tax liabilities and getting them the financial assistance they need to stay afloat is sure to be introduced in the days ahead. Your Maryland team will continue to update you on these issues as the legislative session continues.
If you have any questions about NFIB’s priorities and legislation before the General Assembly that will impact your business, please contact NFIB in Maryland’s State Director Mike O’Halloran at Mike.OHalloran@nfib.org.