The Greater Baltimore Committee will testify at a June 15 hearing against the $15 per hour minimum wage legislation introduced earlier this spring by Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and other members of the City Council.
The GBC is concerned that raising Baltimore’s minimum wage will place the city at a competitive disadvantage to surrounding jurisdictions and is likely to hurt more than it helps. An increase in the minimum wage also fails to address two pressing issues that the city needs to tackle: chronic unemployment and a work skills gap in some communities and demographic groups.
“Increasing Baltimore’s minimum wage does not address chronic unemployment and the skills gap that many current minimum-wage workers face,” said Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the GBC. “The GBC advocates for the city council, working with the business community, to develop education, training, apprenticeship programs, and other solutions to address high unemployment and income disparity.”
An estimated 80,000 low-wage workers in the city could be affected by the increase, according to news reports. However, there are no estimates as to how many businesses would be affected and whether new or existing companies and businesses would locate or relocate to other jurisdictions to lower payroll costs.
Currently, Maryland’s minimum wage is $8.25 per hour, a dollar higher than the federal requirement. The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill during its 2014 session to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2018. The next increase raises the minimum wage to $8.75 per hour on July 1.
If enacted, Baltimore City would be the only jurisdiction in the metropolitan area to have a minimum wage higher than the state’s minimum wage rate. It is unlikely that the surrounding jurisdictions will adopt a higher minimum wage making Baltimore less competitive.
The proposed legislation would incrementally increase minimum wage in Baltimore until it reaches the full amount by 2020.
If you go:
What: Baltimore City minimum wage hearing
When: Wednesday, June 15, 2016; 5 p.m.
Where: Baltimore City Hall, Du Burns Council Chamber, 4th floor, 100 N. Holliday St., Baltimore, MD 21202
For information, click here.
To join the GBC and its efforts to advocate against the minimum wage increase, contact Shaina Hernandez, GBC’s Director of Local Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at 410-727-2820.