(August 14, 2018—ANNAPOLIS, Md.) Moderation is dying, political polarization is increasing day to day—and it’s affecting Maryland’s business climate. During the 2017 session, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce experienced this first hand while lobbying for amendments of the Healthy Working Families Act, otherwise known as HB1.
While the value of paid leave is understood, the record keeping mandates of this law alone are proving to take time and effort that could be better spent growing a small business. Furthermore, the onerous penalties imposed on businesses not in compliance, even if by mistake, could shut them down.
As seen last session with this bill, there was little attempt to compromise across the aisle and that inflexibility only seems to be getting worse. Lately, everything gets branded as too liberal or too conservative. People and businesses are being forced to choose sides—and it’s affecting the way people shop and work. Businesses associated with certain political figures could take a hard hit or a boost simply because of leadership views.
Intense political rhetoric in media, gerrymandering and an increasing urban-rural divide are all factors that have led to this polarization. As these tactics and divisions increase, political moderation feels like an ideal of the past.
However, amid this tension, we must not forget there is a middle ground. Moderate-minded solutions will keep businesses running and growing, but compromise is key.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce Business Policy Conference on September 20th will discuss solutions to this issue with insiders from both sides of the aisle—former Maryland governors Parris Glendening (D) (1995-2003) and Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) (2003-2007). The former governors will discuss political polarization, the negative effect on business and how bipartisanship is the only way for government to be effective.
Let’s come together to find solutions that work for the majority and start recognizing that difference of opinion doesn’t have to be polarizing.
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