Maryland lawmakers pass $15 minimum wage bill

By Darryl Coote

March 20 (UPI) -- Maryland Lawmakers gave their final approval Wednesday to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

The bill to raise Maryland's minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 will next pass into the hands of Gov. Larry Hogan for approval who has said he is against the pay increase and could veto it, the Baltimore Sun reported.


However, the House and Senate passed their versions of the bill with enough votes to gain veto protection, but if Hogan does reject it, the Democrats, who have control of both legislatures, could override him.

The bill came to the Maryland General Assembly following a compromise between the House and Senate over the timeframe for small businesses to phase in the pay increase, The Washington Post reported.

The Senate had allotted companies with 15 or fewer employees until January 2028 for full implementation while the House wanted all companies to hit that mark by 2025.

In the end, companies with fewer than 15 employees had until July 2026 to pay the $15 minimum wage.

Under the bill, minimum wage employees will see yearly 60-cent incremental raises until paychecks reach the $15 high water mark.


"I hate to make this only the burden of businesses. If government wants to participate, let's find ways to lower taxes. Let's find a way to truly make the cost of living cheaper," said minority whip and Republican Sen. Stephen Hershey, WBALTV 11 cited.

Hogan has been a critic of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and proposed a compromise of a $12 raise cap earlier this month.

In the letter to both the House and the Senate, Hogan said a raise could reverse the economic progress the state has made since he came into office in 2014.

He claimed a $15 increase would cost the state 99,000 jobs and cause an economic decline of $61 billion over the next 10 years.

"I am extremely concerned that a dramatic and geographically disproportionate increase in our minimum wage will negatively impact our competitiveness and harm our state's economy," he said in the letter.

Democrat Sen. Delores Kelly said that people who earn a minimum wage are more likely to spend that money.

"People who are making at, or just around, the minimum wage don't tend to put their earnings into long-term investments," she said. "They spend that money on a daily basis. They spend it as quickly as they get it."


The bill also stipulates that tipped employees will earn $3.63 an hour as long as tips plus hourly wage meet the minimum wage.

Workers under 18 years of age would receive a paid training wage. And farm workers will be exempt.

Hogan has six days to either sign or veto the bill.

It was passed earlier by the House of Delegates in a 93-41 vote and by the Senate with a 32-13 vote.

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