Maryland Small Business Objects to Minimum Wage Carve-out for Six Flags

Date: January 14, 2014

Annapolis (January 14, 2014) – The state’s leading advocate for small businesses today said its members are troubled by a push by officials in Prince George’s County to exempt Six Flags from a higher minimum wage.

“Thousands of small businesses in Maryland rely on seasonal and part-time workers just like Six Flags,” said NFIB State Director Jessica Cooper.  “The impact on them will be just as devastating and it’s completely unfair to treat them like second-class citizens.”

NFIB has warned repeatedly that raising the minimum wage would destroy jobs in Maryland.  Six Flags obviously agrees and it has managed to convince local officials to exempt it from labor costs that it can’t absorb.  Instead of creating a patchwork of local rates to accommodate favored companies, local and state lawmakers should scrap the increase altogether and focus on making all employers more competitive.

“The fact that they’re considering a carve-out for one company means that they understand the negative potential.  How, then, can it make sense to exempt just one employer,” said Cooper.  “It doesn’t make sense and it certainly isn’t fair.”

Governor O’Malley and lawmakers are preparing to raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour, an increase of more than 37 percent in the cost of entry-level labor.  Moreover, the proposal would trigger automatic increases every year thereafter based on the Consumer Price Index.

“Six Flags obviously doesn’t believe that it can absorb a 37 percent increase in its labor costs with future increases on autopilot,” said Cooper.  “Many small businesses can’t afford that either and sparing them shouldn’t be a lower priority for the Legislature.”

Allowing local officials to strike their own rates would be just as big a headache. 

“Plenty of small businesses have more than one location,” said Cooper.  “There will be pressure on local officials all over the state to carve out their own exemptions and the result will be a bookkeeping and compliance nightmare for small businesses.”

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