The Maryland House of Delegates voted 89 to 46 on Friday to pass Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage.
If also passed by the Senate, the measure would gradually increase the base rate of pay for most workers from the federal level of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2017.
Not surprisingly, Patch readers have some thoughts on whether a minimum wage increase would boost the economy by putting more spending money in workers' pockets, or eliminate jobs because businesses can't afford to pay more.
A couple of small business owners say they will be forced to raise their costs and trim employee hours to offset the wage increase. But others say it will help the consumer economy.
Here's a sampling of reader comments from our earlier story.Kim Cooke: "Fueling the middle class. Consider this: I was working a minimum wage job when we sold our family home 30 years ago. That house is now worth more than five times the value and minimum wage is only slightly more than twice what I was making.
Sharon Pierpoint: "If people want higher wages, go back to school or attend a trade school."
"So over three years a business owner will have to raise an employees pay from $7.50 to $10.10 an hour. But to make up for that I am now going to have to raise my food prices not only to cover my new employees minimum wage, but because the guy I get my supplies from has now raised his prices because the people he gets his stuff from had to raise his prices," writes Holly Agouridis. "We are an average mom and pop carryout who have been in business for over 30 years. We already take great care of our employees by giving them above minimum wages and extra each month when we do good. So now I am going to have to cut people's hours and bye bye bonuses."
shaun fsir: "I too am a small business owner and in the same business as you and your husband. Most of my employees make more than minimum wage already. The few that don't are high school students. It may help some people, but ultimately it will hurt the small business owners who really drive the economy, as well as the work they do with the local communities which they serve. It leaves nothing left for goodwill, helping schools, sports teams, churches, etc."
Maryellen Brady: "Raising the minimum wage is good for the economy and the future of the viability of the American workforce. It is proven that spreading the wealth creates more consumers, who demand products, that need to be serviced by people and thus creates jobs."
Cynthia thompson: "I've run across some receptionist/administrative jobs that only want to pay that amount and that's absurd...employers are greedy. I myself currently would not be able to survive on $10, $15 or $20 an hour without working working at least 2 jobs..the cost of living, especially here in Maryland is very high!!!"