State Senator Wants to Raise Maryland’s Minimum Wage to $10

Legislation would raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 by 2015.

A campaign has been launched to gradually raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 by 2015.

Maryland Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat from Germantown, and Prince George’s County lawmaker Del. Aisha N. Braveboy are co-sponsoring legislation and held a rally Tuesday in Annapolis to garner support.

The legislation will be introduced in the next two weeks, Garagiola said in a statement released to media.

“Maryland workers are in desperate need of a raise,” Garagiola said in the emailed statement. “Our people are working harder but aren’t earning more, and it’s time to give a much needed boost to our economy. Raising the minimum wage would not only put more money in the pockets of these workers but also increase business activity in our state.”

The campaign—Raise Maryland—has reportedly gained backing from union leaders, Democrat groups, and other community groups such as the NAACP andCASA de Maryland.

How it Would Work

Under the proposal, Maryland's minimum wage would be increased in three increments—to $8.25 in 2013; $9 in 2014; and $10 in 2015—and would be "indexed" in 2016 to keep up with increases in the cost of living.

The minimum wage would also increase for tipped workers, such as waitresses, carwash attendants and nail salon workers, from 50 percent of the minimum wage to 70 percent.

Maryland’s rate is the same as the federal rate, at $7.25. But 19 states have set higher minimum wage rates, according to federal data. Washington State offers the top rate, at $9.19.

Minimum wages are not required in five states, federal data show.

Locally, minimum-wage workers in Washington, DC earn a dollar more than their cohorts in Maryland and Virginia, which also has a minimum wage of $7.25.

Maryland's minimum wage was last increased in 2005, according to Garagiola.

Raise the Rate Part Two?

There was an unsuccessful attempt to enact similar legislation in 2011. 

At the time, Garagiola reportedly told state politics blog MarylandReporter.com that a wage hike would help the state’s economy and re-center the distribution of wealth:

“The argument is very strong that we need to raise it from the level we’re at today,” Garagiola said. “We’ve seen over the last several decades a growing disparity between high-wage earners and low-wage earners.”

Garagiola had gained the backing of 14 other senators, state legislative records show.

But business owners quoted in the same MarylandReporter.com account complained that raising the minimum wage would mean having to cut employees' hours or worse—having to let workers go.

Ian Brett Cooper January 23, 2013 at 02:23 PM
I think it's disgusting that the minimum wage has been so low for so long. I will boycott the businesses who are lobbying against this and I urge others who feel the same to do so too. We can show them that they'll lose far more by being skinflints than they'll ever lose by doing the decent thing.
Ian Brett Cooper January 23, 2013 at 02:30 PM
One of the people complaining is Eric H. Oppenheim, the Chief Operating Officer for Republic Foods, Inc. where he manages the operations for nineteen Burger King restaurants in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I will, from now on, be boycotting Burger King.
Real liberal January 24, 2013 at 03:12 PM
@Ian, your statements suggest that you misunderstand the economic principles at work. If it were so easy to increase wages, we could just mandate that everyone be paid $25/hr. Or $50/hr. It's been tried and does not work. BTW, your suggested boycott will only harm the workers you claim to care about- if you are successful, their hours will be cut and they will be poorer for it.
jag January 24, 2013 at 03:18 PM
...it's safe to say you're unaware of the economic principles and application of law if you think there's ever been a $50/hr min wage.
Ian Brett Cooper January 24, 2013 at 04:58 PM
If businesses can't pay people a decent minimum wage, they should be forced out of business in favor of businesses that are run better and more equitably. I fail to see why workers should suffer for miserly or incompetent management. THAT is the free market at work. I find it ironic that so-called free market advocates spend so much time defending businesses that are so poorly run that they cannot even pay a decent wage.


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