Germantown Lawmaker 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 a 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.

Fred Foo January 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Ken's point would be true in a simple closed system. But ours is much more complex. Nonetheless, minimum wages have plenty of drawbacks. There are better alternatives to meet the goals that Sen. Garagiola mentions. (For instance, stop raising taxes every year!)
David Bross January 23, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Still, Mr. Ficker makes a good point. And this is from a strong supporter of Sen. Garagiola!
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 24, 2013 at 03:05 AM
"Let's raise it to $15, and right now. Who can live on $10 an hour f'cryin'outloud?" Why stop there? Why not raise it to $20 or even $30? Then the Annapolis Statehouse can spend more money that it does not have on uemployment benefits, since more people will end up out of work or have an even harder time finding a job. In all seriousness, folks, the mininimum wage is a maximum means for maintaining or deepening economic stagnation and umeployment. Marylanders, enough with one-party rule! These pols have no idea but job security, theirs, not yours! Say "No!" to minimum wage hikes.
Cate Partridge January 24, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Though I do feel it would be nice to see a hike in minimum wage, I would like to address the comment about people living on $10 an hour. Minimum wage is just what it says - THE MINIMUM someone should make to survive. NOT to support a family on, not to live comfortably. Its meant as a starting point for a high school kid to start out on. It was NEVER meant to pay for a new car or two kids or a two bedroom apartment. Raising the minimum is still not going to solve the complex problems of not enough jobs for the layman or enough good careers for the college educated. It's not a bad thought to see a small rise in minimum wage, as the cost of that one bedroom apartment and food has gone up, but it is no magical cure to help people get better jobs that will provide a better flow of money and benefits.
Don O'Neill February 02, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Bob, This discussion on minimum wage is above you pay grade. Are you serving as Rob Garagiola's mouthpiece? In a democracy, ideas are like flood water; they create their own path... unless someone tries to block them. For best results, go with the flow. By not engaging in the discussion blog he started, Rob Garagiola may think he is on high ground, high and dry. But in a democracy, reluctance to engage is actually the low road.


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