Baltimore City Council members speak on revisions to $15 minimum wage proposal

A proposal to raise Baltimore City’s minimum wage to $15 an hour is moving forward in the city council, though it drawn resistance from some lawmakers. (WBFF)

BALTIMORE (WBFF) – A proposal to raise Baltimore City’s minimum wage to $15 an hour is moving forward in the city council, though it drawn resistance from some lawmakers.

City Councilwoman Pat Clarke, who represents District 14, filed the bill in April of this year. Since then, lawmakers have taken comments from hundreds of workforce members and business owners from around Baltimore.

Furthermore, several changes have been made to the proposed legislation so that lawmakers can find a middle ground.

“I’m happy with where we got,” said Clark on Thursday.

Fellow council members have amended her bill by: Moving the target year for raising the wage to $15 an hour back two years, to 2022; exempting businesses with 50 employees or less, as well as those with annual revenue below $500,000; and adjusting the wage requirement for workers who receive tips so that it comes out to $5 an hour, plus tips, by 2020.

“Restaurants were very concerned,” Clark said. “We've tried to take the businesses into consideration, but most and foremost our people who live here and work for a living and can't make ends meet.”

Councilman Robert Curran, District 3, said he supports the changes. “Baltimore needs to be on the forefront and a leader,” he said.

Not all members of the legislative body are on board, however. City Council President Jack Young said he will not vote for any measures that bring the wage above $11.50 an hour.

Councilman Carl Stokes, District 12, said he would prefer for Baltimore to modify its minimum wage with the rest of Maryland.

“I think most of us feel the better point is if the state as a whole moved toward the same number at the same time,” he said.

The state minimum wage is set to top out at $10.10 an hour in 2018.

The city council will vote in full on the proposal to boost the minimum wage in Baltimore City in August.

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