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Maryland House approves wage increase

9 March 2014 By Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-Chief One Comment

The bill that would raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour passed the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday, and will now head to the Maryland State Senate for final approval.

Maryland’s current minimum wage is currently $7.25, but passage of the bill would slowly start to raise it to $10.10 by 2017.

“Raising the minimum wage makes good business sense: When workers have more money, businesses have more customers, growing our economy in a way that works. Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage higher than Maryland,” Governor Martin O’Malley said in a release following the passage of the bill. “As one of the top states for upward economic mobility, it’s time to give Maryland workers a raise. We urge the Senate to join the House – let’s work together to increase the minimum wage to $10.10.”

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to take action on the bill on Monday. If the committee approves the bill, it will go to the Senate for a final vote, before it could be signed by O’Malley into law.

O’Malley has said that raising the minimum wage is his top priority for his last legislative year.

Ricarra Jones, the chairwoman of the interest group of Raise Maryland, said in a release that raising the minimum wage is about more than just economics.

“Raising the wage is an economic as well as a justice issue,” Jones said in the release. “The House of Delegates has demonstrated tremendous leadership to start addressing income inequality in our state. Hundreds of thousands of workers across the state hope that the Senate takes this as a mandate from their colleagues in House and that they show similar principled leadership.”

During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama advocated for a $10.10 national minimum wage, and followed that up in his weekly address this week, saying that state leaders are not waiting for Congress to pass a minimum wage bill and are acting on their own.

“Increasingly, it’s not just large companies like Costco or the Gap that choose to pay their employees higher starting wages,” Obama said in his weekly address. “It’s smaller businesses like Jaxson’s, a family-owned ice cream parlor in South Florida. They answered the call and raised their wages so that more than 70 employees would earn at least $10.10 an hour, without cutting back on hiring.”

Hawaii’s state legislature on Thursday passed a bill that raised its minimum wage to $10.10, and Minnesota’s legislature is also in discussion to raise it to $9.50, and Chicago’s city council is looking to increase the minimum wage.

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