Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation to increase the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017. There are notable categories of workers omitted from the increase, such as restaurant workers who live principally on tips, and indexing of benefits to keep pace with inflation did not survive. The Senate will next take up the bill.
First, I would have voted yes had I been a Delegate today.
Second, I still believe in a higher minimum wage: the $11.50 passed by PG and Montgomery Counties.
Third, the House of Delegates lacked imagination today, because they did not link the extra expense business would have as a result of today's action with a corresponding decrease in the corporate tax rate, to meet the needs of businesses struggling to survive the current recession. I'm the only candidate for District 19 Delegate who has previously called for that.
And fourth, the action has the potential to backfire against our most vulnerable workers, who may not be hired or retained on payroll if they cannot produce as their employers desire. That will require job training, and I am the only candidate for District 19 Delegate who has previously called for stepped up state support for online job training.