Recently, the Maryland legislature passed a law requiring Wal-Mart and other large employers to pay at least 8% of payroll on health care for employees. Now a similar bill has been proposed in Georgia:
The Fair Share Health Care Act is patterned after a Maryland law that was enacted over the governor’s veto and has spawned similar legislative attempts in more than 30 states.
Wal-Mart is the only large company in Maryland known to fall short of the 8 percent spending requirement. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is Georgia’s largest private employer.
“This is not about bashing Wal-Mart,” said State Sen. Steen Miles (D-Decatur), sponsor of the Senate bill. “It’s about children, affordable health care and unfair burdens on the taxpayers of Georgia.”
Miles and Rep. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), sponsor of an identical House bill, cited a 2002 state survey that found 10,261 children covered by Georgia’s PeachCare for Kids health insurance had a parent working forWal-Mart. The survey was disclosed in a 2004 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.
Wal-Mart, which employs more than 50,000 workers in the state, said that bills such as Maryland’s ”are bad public policy and won’t improve access to health coverage or control the soaring cost of health care.”
They would also cost jobs, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kelly Hobbs.
“Labor union leaders have been unsuccessful at forcing our associates to unionize, so they have devised a multimillion-dollar campaign to slow downWal-Mart’s growth,” she said.
Labor Unions and others on the political left have made this effort a top priority. They’ve launched website such as Wal-Mart Watch and Wake-Up Wal-Mart to spread the word on the evils of Wal-Mart. Miles and Orrock want to fight the fight here in Georgia.
My free advice to Georgia Democrats is to drop this like a hot potato. More government control of business is not the way to go.