WASHINGTON – Tuesday, December 6, the DC Council is scheduled to approve the so-called “Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.” The measure creates the most generous repayment program in the nation for those taking leave, with the majority of the benefits going to residents of Maryland and Virginia. Rather than actively overseeing the operation of city programs and services, the DC Council is focusing its efforts on taking revenge upon what they apparently regard as a scourge of the earth: DC small businesses. The DC Republican Party issued the following statement:
DC Republican Party Chairman José Cunningham noted, “This is a sad day for DC small business. The paid sick leave proposal is not grounded in reality and would end up hurting the District and its workers by driving up costs and moving jobs out of the District.The fact that the District’s Chief Financial Officer reported to the DC Council last week stating that ‘funds are not sufficient in the fiscal year 2017 through 2020 budgets and financial plans to implement the bill,’ and that ‘the tax is not sufficient in any given year to cover the start-up and system implementation costs,’ should be enough for the DC Council to pause and send the bill back to the drawing board.”
Of great significance, out-of-state workers will not be taxed. The program is funded by a tax on employers, based on payroll. Nonetheless, out of state workers represent an overwhelming majority of the beneficiaries.
The District’s largest employer, The Federal Government, would not be taxed. As such, the tax burden falls heavily on small businesses and nonprofit organizations. For local charitable organizations, overhead costs will rise but revenue will not. It is inevitable that charitable organizations will need to cut programs that, for example, feed low-income families, house victims of domestic violence, care for the elderly, etc.
The paid sick leave program would be administered by the D.C. government and there is no clear plan for preventing fraud or other forms of abuse, nor are there specific associated penalties.
This legislation is another fine example of the Council passing laws that are burdensome – both financially and logistically – on local businesses. With passage of each of these measures the Council members say “businesses will come to DC, everyone loves it here.” The cumulative effect; however, will eventually reach a critical mass and businesses will be forced to leave the District. Indeed, the Council recognized this by making an unenforceable promise to halt some –not all– new legislative proposals that burden businesses.
The paid sick leave bill was drafted and introduced by the Council’s two most far-left members, Elissa Silverman and David Grosso. They take their marching orders from left-wing think tanks and use Washington, DC as a laboratory for left-wing experiments. Even the left-leaning Washington Post agrees with this assessment. As Washington Post Columnist Colbert King recently noted in reference to the paid leave measure, “Architects of progressive ideas in think tanks are celebrating victories scored in their legislative laboratory, the DC Council.”
Coming at the outset of a new Republican-controlled term in Congress and the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump, the measure unnecessarily creates tension between DC and the 100% Republican controlled federal government. The timing could not be worse. This is the time for the District to work cooperatively with the federal government, while simultaneously maintaining its autonomy. Compromise will not come about by catering to the extreme left and rushing proposals through the Council before the new President and new Congress are sworn in. The Council, as well as Mayor Bowser if she signs this bill, are putting future relations with Congress and President Donald Trump at risk.
DC Republican Party executive Director Patrick Mara, added, “Unfortunately, the DC Council views the District as their social laboratory to test massive social programs. The stakeholder input they receive apart from labor unions and national social policy groups is minimal. They simply do not care what others think. Sadly, this boondoggle will impose great cost and unduly burden on small businesses and the average DC resident.”
The DC GOP urges Mayor Bowser to veto the poorly vetted Paid Sick Leave legislation and commits to working with her to build a cooperative relationship with the new Congress and President-elect Trump.
For further information or comments, contact Patrick Mara at Patrick.Mara@dcgop.com.