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  • 02/07/2017 8:57 AM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)
    Larry’s Letter for February


    Larry Helminiak

    The Maryland General Assembly is in session.    If this is like any other year, nearly 3,000 bills will be submitted for consideration.  Most will not make it out of committee but many will become law.

    With a new president in office who is from the business community, expect many laws, such as those dedicated to regulating business, to be changed or eliminated.

    Last month, I suggested that every business owner join their particular trade associations.   This month, I suggest that you actually talk to your Maryland legislators to get an idea of what’s coming down (or up) from Annapolis that will affect your business.

    But how can I talk to my Senator or Delegate?  Where do I go?   Glad you asked.

    The Republican Central Committee of Carroll County holds an annual breakfast and invites all the elected officials who represent you in the county and in Annapolis.    You are free to ask questions.

    Date                      Saturday, March 11

    Place                     Best Western Hotel                        Westminster

    Cost                       $ 30.00

    Anyone interested in attending, email me at and I will see that you get the invitation

  • 01/06/2017 5:15 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)

    Larry’s Letter - January 2017

    On January 20, 2017, Donald J.Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Rather than what he IS, it may be even more important to point out what he is NOT. He is NOT a Senator. He is NOT a Congressman. He is NOT a Governor. He has never held an elected office. Rather, he has spent his entire life in running a private business, and has had to deal with every law that elected officials can come up with to regulate and tax business. You may not have thought of it this way; but . . . . . . . . . . . HE IS ONE OF US. How do WE deal with that?

    Over the past eight years many rules, regulations and taxes that affect business have come down from Washington. If the new president keeps his promises, many of these will be modified or eliminated. I would wager that most business owners who read this letter don’t know all of those which affect your own business. Changes are likely to be FAST AND FURIOUS. The big question for you is, “How do I know when a new law or rule affects my business?” The answer is for you to belong to the association related to your business.

    I was an insulation contractor. Since Carroll Insulation installed insulation in new homes, I belonged to HBAM (Home Builders Association of Maryland). When the organization printed their annual membership booklet, which went to every builder I wanted as a customer, my name, address and phone number was there. So, if a builder got upset with the insulator he was using, he opened the book and saw my name. To increase market penetration, I went to monthly organization meetings and ran for office, and was elected to the highest position a sub-contractor can hold. This put me in meetings where I could personally ask builders for their business.

    In the 1980’s, because so many new laws were coming from Washington and the States, a national organization was started specifically for insulation contractors. ICAA Insulation Contractors Association of America. Being a member empowered us to actually meet in Washington and in State Capitals with the heads of departments that make the rules. I joined, became active, and was elected President in 1983 and in 1998.

    So, knowing that so much is going to change in the next year that affects your business, I suggest that every SCBA member join the association that represents your business and become active. Simply joining and sending in a check doesn’t cut it. 1) Join 2) attend all the meetings 3) Become an officer.

    Larry Helminiak

  • 12/30/2016 4:22 PM | Patti Murphy (Administrator)

    Larry's Letter

    December 2016

    Dear SCBA Members:

    If you are reading this you are a member of the South Carroll Business Association and you know that on November 8th, Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States and will be sworn in on January 21, 2017.

    The next four years are likely to be very different than the past as they affect our businesses. Here are a few things that may affect you, as a business owner:

    Personal Taxes: Trump’s campaign promise was that he is going to reduce personal taxes to a maximum of 25%, down from their current level. My hope is that, along with lowering, they are less complicated.

    Business Taxes: We’ve all read about large businesses moving their headquarters overseas to avoid paying the highest tax rate in the world. If they are lowered, there is at least the chance that these companies will move headquarters back to this country and bring the money back that they now have in foreign banks. The size of government. Trump has promised to freeze hiring of federal employees and to not fill openings when a worker retires. This should reduce the cost of government, and, hopefully, taxes.

    Regulation:  Perhaps the biggest change of all. During my career I have seen federal and state regulations on business grow and grow and grow. I remember none that actually helped my business; but many that simply raised the cost of doing business. In 2010, I was fortunate to be on a Baltic Cruise with the Young America Foundation, and our small group was granted a meeting with the President of Estonia, Mart Larr. He said that, as the first president after Soviet occupation, he had to come up with a quick method of taxing. He was able to implement a flat tax of 23% on all citizens. Make a million dollars and pay $230,000. Make $ 10,000 and pay $2,300. No categories. In this way, everyone knows what they have to pay and everybody cares about taxes going up. Filing is simple. The country needed jobs, so Mr. Larr announced to the world that any business that came to Estonia would pay zero taxes. Businesses came, and Estonia grew dramatically. One member of our group,

    Governor George Allen said he heard that Estonia has the fastest growing economy in Europe and President Larr said, “Actually it’s the fastest growing country on earth.”

    Another member in our group, former Attorney General Ed Meese, asked if there were any people in Estonia had any trouble finding work and Mr. Larry replied, “Yes. Accountants and lawyers because we don’t need either one.”


    Larry Helminiak

    SCBA Government Relations Liaison

  • 01/06/2016 2:57 PM | Brian Wigutow (Administrator)

      If you are as addicted to the Sunday morning political shows as I am, you would know that, for decades, he has been analyzing and opining on the political scene.   It would not be an exaggeration to say that he knows more about political history than anyone on TV.

    Without a doubt, this is the most important presidential election of our lives.  If we elect the Democrat, we are promised a continuation of Obama’s policies.   If we elect a Republican, we are sure to see an attempt to reverse the past eight years.

    The Democrats are running Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and our own Martin O’Malley.   All promise a bigger Federal Government.

    The Republican list is as long as any in memory.   Alphabetically, they are Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carlie Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.   Five more, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Lindsay Graham and George Pataki have already dropped out.

    Every few days we see polls telling us who has the most support.   The consistent first four are, in alphabetical order, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.    What makes this race different from the past races in recent memory is that at least three of the four are considered “outsiders”.  Ben Carson is a brain surgeon.   Donald Trump is a businessman.  Neither has ever run for ANY political office.  Ted Cruz is a Senator; but is a certified maverick in the U.S. Senate.  Most other senators consider him an outsider. 

    The DNC (Democrat National Committee) is doing everything in its power to promote Hillary Clinton.  They scheduled their last  national debate   on  a Saturday night, when it is known that few people will watch.  The next debate is on a weekend, at the same time as two football games.  

    The Republican debates have been on weekdays, in prime time, and have set records for numbers of viewers.  Like them or not, they have set viewing records, and millions of people know more about them than they did before the debates.

    Both parties want “insiders” to be their candidates in the general election.  This is because they know what to expect if that person becomes president.    Having a president who has never been part of the establishment threatens the status quo, and makes them quite nervous.

    If you like, the way the country has been going, then, by all means, vote for one of the candidates favored by the DNC or RNC.   If you think the country has been going in the wrong direction, then, by all means, vote for one of the “outsiders.”

    Back to George Will.    He once said, “Before election day, you will see ad after ad after ad telling you to be sure to exercise your right to vote.”    George Will disagrees with this.  He says that he works to know as much as possible about each candidate and casts his vote for the one that is, in his opinion, best for the country.   Then, someone who has done no research, and knows nothing about their policies, casts an uninformed vote that cancels out his.  

    I agree with George.     If you are going to vote, check out the positions of all the candidates and vote for the one that most agrees with yours.    If you, like so many, tend to go into the polling place with no knowledge of what anyone stands for, and then please, stay home.

  • 11/06/2015 11:57 AM | Brian Wigutow (Administrator)

    If you read the paper, you know that the Commissioners and the Board of Education are presented with a decision on closing schools.

    The largest growth of Carroll County was in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  Young couples came from Baltimore City and many nearby counties. They were drawn by our county’s beauty, the relative low cost of living, and our great schools.  They had kids who filled our schools. 

    Things changed.    I remember going to public meetings where people actually stood up and yelled.   “The schools are filled.   The roads are crowded.   We must stop all this new development,”    The people doing the loudest complaining were those who had moved in in the previous five years.  What they were really saying was, “I moved to Carroll County because of the beautiful open farmlands and the rural character.   Now that I’m here, let’s stop anyone else from coming.”   They got their wish   Building moratoriums were put in place and the number of new houses dwindled to a fraction of their previous numbers.   Rules from the state increased the cost of building a house.   Sprinklers were made mandatory.   Septic tanks are now many times the cost of what they used to be because of a state rule mandating state of the art septic systems.

    I am reminded of an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”

    For the last decade or so, the number of new houses are down, and the people living in them the existing homes are older, and are not producing the kids to fill the schools.  

    At public hearings and in letters to the editor, citizens are giving every reason they can think of to NOT close their favorite schools.

    Having a job where you have to go outside the county , or just owning a business, often makes it hard, if not impossible, to attend public meetings.

    Because of simple numbers, some schools will have to be closed.   Whatever your opinion, please take the time to write a personal letter to the commissioners and the Board of Education members.  They need to hear from you.

    Larry Helminiak

  • 10/01/2015 12:40 PM | Brian Wigutow (Administrator)

    Making Maryland More Business Friendly

    I understand that Governor Hogan has finished his cancer treatments.  Being under treatment has taken much of the time of his first year in office that could have been spent on state business.   In the last couple of weeks, he has been playing catch-up.

    Making Maryland more business friendly was one of his goals, and he has taken the first steps to do so.  We, as business owners, know what it is to pay license fees.   In September, the governor cut almost all the LICENSE FEES that we must pay to stay in business.   Some as much as 20%.  This is a start and sends a message that he is trying to keep his campaign promises.

    A hot topic across the country is the fight over funding, or not funding Planned Parenthood.   It is likely that, in next year’s session, decisions will be made regarding what Maryland will do.

    There are people who feel strongly on this issue, FOR and AGAINST.   It is hard to find anyone who does not have an opinion.   No matter which side you are on, I encourage you to write to your local Delegate and Senator to express your opinion.

    They make their decisions on their own feelings; but are strongly influenced by the positions of their constituents.   Do not send emails.   Nothing has a greater effect on an office holder than a letter, written by a constituent, on your company’s letterhead, and signed by you, the owner.

    Do not wait until the session begins.   With over 3,000 new bills being submitted in every session, things get lost in the process.    Take the time to write a letter now, when it has the greatest impact.

    Larry Helminiak

  • 09/01/2015 12:20 PM | Brian Wigutow (Administrator)

    With no new laws being passed in Annapolis, I inquired about the plan for roads In South Carroll.

    Liberty Road west of 32

    Currently, the road changes from four lanes on each side then down to two lanes a little further up.

    The PLAN, in the near future, is to widen Liberty Road so that it will be four lanes all the way to White Rock.

     Route 32

    An idea in the works is to widen 32 from Bennett Road and add a turn lane by Liberty High School

  • 08/01/2015 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Jesse Waters Stops Random Students on College Campuses

    If you watch TV, you must have noticed that there’s talk of a presidential election in 2016. 

    If you watch FOX, you have likely seen WATER’S WORLD   , where Jesse Waters stops random students on college campuses, and asks them who the Vice President of the United States is.  Many, far too many, don’t know.

    If you are a member of SCBA, you are likely a boss, with employees.   Perhaps YOUNG employees.  I’ve noticed that many of them spend more time on social media than watching news on TV.  Many simply don’t know what they don’t know.  Some do; but they tend to be the exception.  Their lives are too bush to pay that much attention.

    When I owned Carroll Insulation, it was common for employees to come up to me in the week before an election and ask them to advise them who to vote for.   The truth is, they respect your opinion.

    It would be nice to be able to vote more than once on Election Day (like they do in Philadelphia, where some precincts recorded 100% turnout with NO votes for Romney.    Or in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, where turnout exceeded 100% of registered voters.)    Check it out if you don’t believe me.   Lastly, there are three counties in North Carolina where thousands of people voted who are over 112 years of age.  Check google if you don’t believe me.

    My point is this…………………..  Your employees look up to you.  They cherish your opinion.   If YOU can’t vote more than once, you CAN, through your advice, multiply your votes by advising your employees.

    If you now expect me to tell YOU who to vote for, you are wrong.  

    My advice:

    • ·                 Do some research on ALL the candidates
    • ·                 Look for the one who will be best for private business.
    • ·                 Wait for an employee to ask for your advice
    • ·                 Tell them who that is, and be sure to remind them to vote.

    In this way, you multiply the chances of the best business person being elected.

    Larry Helminiak

  • 07/01/2015 12:42 PM | Brian Wigutow (Administrator)

    Praying for a quick recovery for our Governor

    As every Marylander knows, Governor Larry Hogan announced in a press conference that he has been diagnosed with Stage 3 non-Hodgkins  Lymphoma.  This is serious; but treatable.

    On June 27, he started his first chemo treatment which lasted four days. After that treatment he announced that he feels great, and will continuing to perform his duties as governor.

    Attention has now turned to Lieut. Governor Boyd Rutherford.  Most people usually have trouble even NAMING the Lieutenant Governor.   It is worthwhile getting to know him, as he will take the governor’s place whenever necessary. He said in a press conference, “The governor and I ran on making the state more business friendly and that is what we are setting out to do. That’s why we’re so excited to welcome the world’s largest shipping company back to the Port of Baltimore.  “

    Another quote on Mr. Rutherford, “Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford’s new role as his boss’s stand-in was on full display Wednesday, when he took the lead in welcoming a major shipping company back to the Port of Baltimore.

    Still his cautious self, Rutherford celebrated the return of the Denmark-based Maersk.  It represents the launch of an important partnership between the state and an industry leader in Maersk.  It represents the launch of an important partnership between the state and an industry leader in Maersk. Our great port is a critical economic asset for Maryland and today reaffirms that.”

    Rutherford is a lawyer and career bureaucrat, and has largely defined his political career as a behind-the scenes guy who enjoys poring over documents looking for government waste.

    The point, for SCBA, is this. Governor Hogan ran, and intends to perform, as a business friendly governor. His occasional absence will be filled by a very capable Lieutenant Governor with the same goals.

    I can’t end this letter without asking you all to pray for a quick recovery for Governor Hogan.

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