Maryland Democrat vetoes $15 county-wide minimum wage bill


Maryland Democrat vetoes $15 county-wide minimum wage bill

Nick Barrickman

26 January 2017

On Monday, Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett announced his plans to veto legislation recently passed by the county’s legislative chamber, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020. Bill 12-16 passed the Legislative Council of the county located in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC in a 5-4 vote last week, despite opposition from local businesses.

If enacted, 12-16 would have required businesses employing more than 26 workers to gradually raise the county’s current minimum wage of $10.75 to $15 by 2020, with businesses employing less than 25 people having an additional two years to raise the hourly pay.

Leggett, a Democrat, cited fears that the bill would place Montgomery County at a “competitive disadvantage … compared to our neighboring jurisdictions” while calling for further study on the impact that raising the minimum wage would have on “private employers’ bottom line as well as the impact on county government.” In addition, Leggett demanded that the minimum wage bill should contain complete exemptions for minors and small businesses, while allowing larger companies until 2022 to implement the changes.

Marc Elrich (D-At Large), who sponsored the bill, defended the legislation by noting that previous studies into the expected impact that a wage raise would have in the county had been inconclusive. “You can’t do an examination of what’s going to happen in the private sector. … You can study what has happened, but you can’t tell what will happen going forward,” he stated. The bill was also supported by the MD/DC Fight for $15 Coalition, which included the Service Employees International Union and the Metro Washington…

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