Maryland lawmakers have introduced a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2023. Notably, the State’s minimum wage is currently $10.10 per hour, which is significantly greater than the federal minimum of $7.25. Many progressive leaders and newly elected legislators do not think Maryland’s current minimum wage is high enough, and as a result, there has been an increased push to pass the proposed legislation. If enacted, Maryland would join the notoriously employer-unfriendly jurisdictions like California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. If the experience in those States is a guide, the increased minimum wage would increase the cost of doing business in Maryland, create incentives to deploy technology to reduce labor costs, harm workers who are least skilled (by making them less attractive “at the price” vis-à-vis more skill peers), and create severe obstacles for businesses operating within the State.
In order for the Maryland General Assembly to hear from business owners, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce has invited them to testify a hearing at the Maryland State House this Friday, February 8, 2019 to share how they would be impacted by an increase in the minimum wage. No doubt, the advocates of the increase will turn out in large numbers and unless business owners voice their concerns, the likelihood of passage is high. If you are interested in testifying, you may contact Larry Richardson, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Maryland Chamber. Contact information can be found on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s web site, https://mdchamber.org/.
If you are unable to testify, the Chamber has prepared a $15 Minimum Wage toolkit for employers, which provides useful information related to the impact that the law would have and provides sample letters to be sent to legislators requesting that they vote against a $15 minimum wage. You can “find your legislator” at https://mdchamber.org/advocacy/state-official-contacts/.