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Sierra Club Urges Override of Fair Share Health Care Act Veto
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by David Prosten | 10, 2006

This is a copy of the press release sent to the state and local media on January 5, 2006.

 

For immediate release: January 5th, 2006


Contact: David Prosten 410-263-6314; 410-0847


Sierra Club Urges Override of Fair Share Health Care Fund Act Veto


The Maryland Sierra Club is calling on state legislators to override Gov. Robert Erlich's veto of the Fair Share Health Care Fund Act (SB 790).


In letters being hand-delivered to all senators and delegates, the 17,000-member Chapter said that “taxpayer monies (are being) used to subsidize Wal-Mart's operations in the state-not just on health care, in fact, but on employee public assistance in all forms... (These funds) are, by definition, unavailable for vital programs ranging from purchase of open space, maintenance of parks, development of mass transit and the countless other environmental and infrastructure programs that would benefit all Marylanders,”


The letter points out that a September 2003 Wall Street Journal report said Wal-Mart was spending nearly 40 percent less on employee health care that the average for all U.S. Corporations. “Maryland taxpayers are forced to make up the difference,” the group's letter says, “as Wal-Mart workers are forces to turn to Medicaid.”


The Maryland Chapter, part of the 750,000 member national Sierra Club, finds that the veto merits an override as well because the health care measure “fairly addresses the injustice created by the enforcement subsidized by Maryland taxpayers of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retail corporation.”


Responding to reservations on the part of some lawmakers that the legislation is “unfair” in that it appears to target a single company- -Wal-Mart- - Sierra Club State Chair Betsy Johnson said that SB 790 establishes a baseline of responsibility that would be the standard for the future for all Maryland corporations of that size.


“It is a fair and thoughtful measure that deserves to become a law,” she said.

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