Could Maryland Ban Local Minimum Wage Hikes?

Date: February 14, 2017

The Maryland Legislature may soon be considering a measure that would prohibit counties and cities from increasing the local minimum wage, reported The Washington Post.

Under a bill introduced by Del. Derek E. Davis, chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, the General Assembly would have sole ownership of setting the minimum wage statewide, including individual jurisdictions. Local governments would still be able to establish minimum wage rates for their own employees, however. If the measure is passed, Maryland would join several other states that have similar laws in place: Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

Davis’ bill is sure to be contentious, with fierce opposition already expressed from unions and local lawmakers. Elected officials in Montgomery County in particular—where the County Council recently voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour—expressed concerns about how the cost of living and job markets differ by area and that each area should be able to establish base wages and benefits accordingly.

Although County Executive Isiah Leggett vetoed the $15 wage hike in Montgomery County, calling for an economic impact study and noting a preference for a more slowly implemented increase, the issue is likely to come up again. Leggett also told the Post that he believes the issue should be a local matter.

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