Maryland legislators consider bill to increase minimum wage to $15/hour
One year after Baltimore City failed to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, Maryland legislators are now considering a statewide bill which would boost the minimum wage to $15 by 2023.
Several members of the Baltimore City Council traveled to Annapolis Tuesday to testify in favor of the bill in the House Economic Matters Committee.
The City Council passed its own bill but it was vetoed by Mayor Catherine Pugh amid concerns that it would adversely impact many small businesses.
But Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke says a statewide hike in the minimum wage "will make a difference in thousands of lives."
Maureen Crosby, an aviation dispatcher who works at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, says receiving $15 an hour would improve her standard of living.
"It would help me day to day. Every day is a struggle, I make 11-dollars an hour which is a struggle."
Maryland's current minimum wage is $9.25 an hour which will increase to $10.10 on July 1.
However the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Retailers' Association opposes the measure to increase the minimum wage to $15 in five years.
Cailey Locklair Tolle, President of the Retailers' Association, says many small businesses are still adjusting to implementing the new paid sick leave law.
"We're just getting to $10.10 an hour, health care premiums are on the rise, and look at what's happening in the retail industry right now. Six thousand stores closed nationally just this past year," said Locklair Tolle.
"Supporters say they have 74 co-sponsors in the House of Delegates to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Seventy-one voters are needed to enact a bill in the House.
But the bill must first be approved in the House Economic Matters Committee.
A spokeswoman for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says the Governor has not yet taken a position on the bill to phase in a higher minimum wage.