The Wal-Mart Tax: Shifting Health Care Costs to Taxpayers
[Excerpt] Maryland is the first state to hold giant companies such as Wal-Mart accountable for paying their fair share of workers’ health care costs. Maryland’s legislature voted overwhelmingly in January to enact the Fair Share Health Care Act over the governor’s veto. The new law requires employers with more than 10,000 employees to pay their fair share for health care, defined as 8 percent of wages and salaries, or pay into the Fair Share Health Care Fund. As AFL-CIO President John Sweeney wrote in The Washington Post in January 2006, “Wal-Mart complains that it’s being singled out in Maryland, but Wal-Mart isn’t the only company affected by the Fair Share Health Care bill. It’s just the only company that thinks its workers don’t deserve any better.” Leaders in 32 other states agree and have introduced bills similar to the Maryland fair share legislation. Below is a survey of states that have made public the names of companies whose employees receive free or subsidized health care services from the state, and how these companies — some of America’s biggest — are pushing state budgets and services past their breaking points, forcing states to cut Medicaid benefits and eligibility.
Wal-Mart; taxes; employee benefits; state budgets; services; health care; public policy; legislation
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