Minimum Wage Hike Rejected

BERLIN — The latest effort to significantly raise the minimum wage in Maryland died late Wednesday when the Senate Finance Committee voted 8-3 to kill the legislation.

Early on in the current General Assembly session, Senator Robert Gariagiola (D-Montgomery) and Delegate Aisha Braveboy (D-Prince George’s) joined the advocacy group Raise Maryland for a rally in Annapolis announcing proposed legislation aimed at increasing Maryland’s current minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $10 by 2015. Under the proposed legislation, the state’s minimum wage would have increased to $8.25 per hour this year before hitting $9 in 2014 and $10 in 2015. Starting in 2016, the minimum wage would be indexed, or adjusted, annually to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living.

In addition, the proposed bill would raise the minimum wage for tipped employees, which make up a large segment of the area’s workforce, from the current 50 percent, or $3.63 per hour, to 70 percent. Several states already have higher minimum wages for tipped employees and a handful even require tipped employees to be paid the full 100 percent of the minimum wage.

While increasing the minimum wage for all employees, including a modest increase for tipped employees, was clearly a favorite among the workforce in Maryland, it could have serious implications for the business community still struggling in a staggering economy.

Senator Jim Mathias (D-38) served on the Finance Committee and was among the eight senators to vote down the propose legislation.

“The economy is still very unsettled and this would bring an additional cost to some business just struggling to get by,” he said. “This was a very important issue for our area.”

Mathias said market factors and employee demand should continue to determine what the prevailing wage should be without the state dictating mandated minimums.

“I believe in the judgment of the employer,” he said. “The most important asset for any employer is the employees and I think we need to trust employers to take care of those assets without dictating to them what the minimum wage should be.”

Delegate Mike McDermott (R-38B) said the minimum wage bill never came to a vote in the House, but he said he would have opposed the legislation.

“Using Ocean City as an example, in tough times, we don’t want to drive up the cost of doing business any more than it already has,” he said.

4 comments on “Minimum Wage Hike Rejected

  1. That was a good decision. While well-intentioned, this passing would have had no good outcome for the very ones it was intended to help. Only another increase to the cost of operating a business in Maryland. And this would have ultimately benefited no one at all.

  2. It’s a shame people aren’t allowed to make enough beyond the poverty level. Businesses are all about money but the fact of the matter is that living on the current minimum wage, a person cannot afford housing expenses. If they won’t increase the minimum wage then they need to lessen the cost of housing, or better yet, fund more government housing for those families that cannot afford it.

  3. This is horrible. This bring up the amount people are spending and increase the businesses income. People are really struggling around here. I make a little over min. wage and I am struggling and cant get approved for housing. I can only imagine what the single mothers making min. wage are going through. Maryland is a money hungry state.

  4. Consider this : Businesses would compensate for the added expense of the increased minimum wage by hiring less employees. And in particular, as this is a resort community, by using it as just one more excuse to hire more foreign “students”. Hire more locals ! Now there is a novel idea. Local money stays here, and is spent here. That’s what I want to see here in this resort area. And, it is possible to do !! No more excuses !!

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