WASHINGTON, May 5 (UPI) -- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law a hike in the state's minimum wage from the current federal $7.25 to $10.10 by July 2018.
Touting the move as a way to boost the state's economy, O'Malley said the increase in minimum wage would be a boon both to workers and businesses.
"This will boost the incomes of hundreds of thousands of hardworking Marylanders and inject millions of dollars into our state’s economy,” the governor said.
O'Malley was joined at the ceremony by U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a former member of O'Malley's cabinet, who praised the movie as "good for Maryland business, good for Maryland workers and a good example for the country."
"When you put money in people's pockets, people spend it," he said.
The minimum wage in the state will rise to $8 on January 1, and to $8.25 by July 1, 2015. It will then go up again on July 1, 2016, to $8.75, to $9.25 a year later and to $10.10 the year after that.
Maryland joins 21 states and the District of Columbia who have moved to raise their state minimum wage above the federal wage floor. President Obama and members of Congress -- mostly Democrats, with a few Republicans joining in -- have made raising the federal minimum wage a concerted part of the the domestic agenda for the year.