Bill to raise the minimum wage a third time in under two years and mandate automatic, annual hikes is unaffordable for Main Street small businesses
The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee held a hearing this week regarding HB 549, the Fair Wage Act of 2023, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour on Oct. 1, faster and steeper than ongoing hikes already set in law, and tie it to the Consumer Price Index for automatic, annual increases. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the state and nation’s leading small business advocacy association, opposes the bill and issued the following statement by NFIB State Director Mike O’Halloran:
“Maryland’s small business community is very concerned about HB 549. The minimum wage has already been increased twice since January 2022, and is set to rise again next January 1. This bill would now go further, hiking the minimum wage for a third time in 20 months, and do it even more steeply. Also under this proposal, the state would mandate annual increases in the minimum wage automatically, without any vote or accountability by the General Assembly. These accelerated hikes are simply unaffordable for many small businesses, and undoubtedly will cost lost working hours, eliminated jobs, and shuttered Main Street firms.
“This bill, like other proposals in the legislature, will continue to squeeze job creators and make it less affordable to do business in Maryland. Over the past three years, small business owners have been faced with the pandemic, state mandated restrictions and closures, record high inflation, supply chain disruptions, and worker shortages. Now, with a weak economy that has yet to fully recover and a recession still a real prospect, Annapolis politicians are looking to add to the already high cost of starting and owning a business. Lawmakers must again be reminded that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create two out of every three new jobs. Main street cannot afford HB 549.”
>>> Annapolis needs to hear from NFIB members about this policy threat to your businesses. Please take action to make your voices heard today: https://www.votervoice.net/NFIB/20/campaigns/101063/respond <<<