Trade Council To Grade Politicians' Voting Records

April 01, 1992

Students won't be the only ones with report cards come June. Legislators will get them, too, courtesy of the Anne Arundel Trade Council.

While the Maryland Business for Responsive Government group monitors state legislators' votes on business issues, the county group willlook exclusively at the five state senators and 13 delegates who represent the county, said Jeanette D. Wessel, trade council executive director.

"This came about out of frustration," Wessel said. "So often legislators just don't vote for legislation that impacts jobs and the economic climate. It's time business stood up and made itself heard."

At a time of budget crunches and a sluggish economic recovery, "the strong support of every legislator for a safe and secure employment climate is essential," said Kathryn J. Dahl, trade council president.

Rather than taking a statewide approach, the trade council will look at issues that most directly affect its 1,000 members, Wessel said.

A committee will review legislators' votes on some 130 bills introduced this session that either hurt or helped business, Wessel said.

Among other issues, the bills deal with taxes, the environment, transportation, growth management and the maritime industry, she said. For instance, the trade council opposes a bill that gives counties taxing authority, because members believe new taxes would be levied on businesses.

"A lot of things do create or reduce employment opportunities," Wessel said. "If businesses have to spend money on other things, they may have to cut back on their work force."

She said acommittee is working out a rating system and expects to issue reports to trade council members, legislators and the public by June.

Inaddition to monitoring votes, the trade council's legislative committee will continue to review business-related bills and make recommendations to the county delegation.

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