Conferees OK lowering of business surcharge

March 04, 1995|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland House and Senate conferees ended a two-week stalemate yesterday by agreeing to lower the unemployment insurance surcharge on businesses to 1.1 percent from 1.7 percent and raise the benefits for the jobless to $250 a week from $223.

The emergency legislation was expected to be approved by the full House and Senate Monday night. It would then be sent immediately to Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his signature. Notices with the new rates should be mailed to businesses this month.

Mr. Glendening, who earlier yesterday morning chastised the legislature for being slow in reaching a compromise, called the bill "good for Maryland and Maryland businesses."

The surtax change was expected to save Maryland businesses an estimated $85 million over the coming year.

Finance Committee Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell of Baltimore had staked out a more conservative position than his House counterparts and forced them his way. The House had voted to '' drop the surtax to 0.9 percent of wages and to raise maximum benefits to $265 a week.

At that level, Mr. Bromwell said, he was afraid that unless the economy picked up steam, the legislature would have to raise the surtax again next year.

Del. Michael E. Busch, the Anne Arundel County Democrat who chairs the House Economic Matters Committee, said: "I would have liked to have seen us take a little more aggressive stance, but I can understand the sentiments of the Senate. I think the final product will be one to benefit the business community and those unfortunate people who become unemployed."

The governor had threatened to send out rate notices to businesses next Tuesday at the current 1.7 percent rate unless a compromise was reached. That position "helped apply pressure on all the players, but it wasn't the deciding factor," Mr. Bromwell said.

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