Maryland’s minimum wage will increase from $8.75 per hour to $9.25 on July 1, 2017, but in Montgomery County, the minimum wage could shoot far past that in the next three years.
Although Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett vetoed legislation on January 23, labor unions have said they plan to push forward new legislation, which is expected to get the approval of the county council again. The Montgomery County Council voted 5-4 on Jan. 17 to raise the county’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, making it the first jurisdiction in the state to approve a $15 rate.
While some businesses—those with fewer than 25 employees—would have until 2022 before the legislation takes effect, the impact would still be significant for employers.
“To impose a mandatory wage hike as staggering as $15 an hour is downright irresponsible,” NFIB/MD State Director Mike O’Halloran said in a statement. “The small business community simply cannot afford to sustain existing jobs, never mind create new ones when they cannot afford the wages. The weight of paying new, oftentimes inexperienced workers a $15 minimum wage coupled with workers currently making $15 per hour who will no doubt expect a raise is enough to crush the small business community in Montgomery County.”
One of the business owners who attended the hearing noted that he would probably have to cut jobs if the wage hike takes effect, the Post reported.
Sidney Katz, who voted no on the proposal, said that the increase should not be implemented until an economic impact study is completed that outlines the effects the bill would have on the county, its employers, and its minimum-wage workers. The Council did pass a series of amendments to keep the bill alive, such as a delay based on local or national economic indicators showing a serious downturn.