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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- A federal judge yesterday overturned a Maryland law that would have required Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. here to spend more on employee health care because of its size.
The state law was established to require large employers to spend at least 8 percent of payroll on health care or pay the difference in taxes. Only Wal-Mart would have been affected by the law.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz argued in favor of Wal-Mart, saying that the law "imposes legally cognizable injury upon Wal-Mart." In his opinion, the law would have hurt Wal-Mart by requiring it to track and allocate benefits for its Maryland employees in a different way from how it keeps track of employee benefits in other states.
Wal-Mart critic WakeUpWalMart.com issued a statement expressing disappointment following the court decision.
"While deeply disappointed by the District Court's decision, this decision does not change the fact that Wal-Mart doesn't provide company health care to over half of its workers," said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com. "The District Court's decision, unfortunately, ignores the strong public support for requiring large, profitable corporations to pay their fair share for health care. Whether by legislation or by public pressure on Wal-Mart, the fight to provide better health care and to reduce Wal-Mart's tax burden on American taxpayers will continue until the day Wal-Mart becomes a responsible employer."