GBC’s statement on proposed legislation to increase the minimum wage in Baltimore City

The Greater Baltimore Committee has serious concerns about proposed legislation by the Baltimore City Council that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, noting that the bill could have a wide range of negative economic consequences for the city.

Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour would result in Baltimore City being an “island” surrounded by other jurisdictions that have no plans to raise the minimum wage.

“If passed, this bill would place Baltimore City at a serious competitive disadvantage. It has the potential to result in job losses and businesses leaving the city,” Fry said.

During a hearing in June 2016 regarding previously introduced legislation to increase the minimum wage (Council Bill 16-0655), the Greater Baltimore Committee and its coalition of business and nonprofit leaders put forth more than 30 business owners, employees, disability service providers and others who outlined how a $15-per-hour minimum wage would harm their businesses and stifle job creation. The legislation failed in the City Council.

When the legislation was first introduced last spring, there was no fiscal analysis demonstrating the potential impacts of the bill on the city.

A subsequent Baltimore City Bureau of the Budget and Management Research analysis concluded that a $15-per-hour minimum wage in the city would result in “draconian job losses,” mostly for young and low-skilled workers, and unemployment levels rivaling the Great Recession.

An additional concern is that at a time when Baltimore City government is facing uncertain funding levels from the federal and state government this is the wrong time to be adding pressure on the city’s operating budget by increasing the minimum wage for city government employees and the corresponding increases to supervisory positions. The estimated cost to the city budget assigned to the 2016 minimum wage legislative proposal was an average of $20 million per year over the next six fiscal years.

The Greater Baltimore Committee believes in increasing opportunity for all Baltimoreans in a way that also allows businesses to grow and create much needed jobs. “We hope to have constructive, meaningful conversations with the City Council about how we can achieve our common goals while still allowing our city to be economically prosperous,” Fry said.

News coverage about the new legislation

Baltimore Business Journal

The Baltimore Sun

The Daily Record

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