Maryland is one of them, but the increase won’t take place until July.
Baltimore, Md (KM) The minimum wage in Maryland will be going up in 2017 in Maryland, but not until later this year. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation says it will go up from $8.75 per hour to $9.25 per hour starting on July 1st. It will then go up in 2018 to $10.10 an hour.
Charly Carter, the Director of Maryland Working Families, says even this increase is not enough for workers to come out ahead. “Usually, people who are making minimum wage, they’re stringing together two or more jobs in order to cobble enough income to live on and to raise a family on,” she says.
But this increases will help out a little. “It eases the burden that much more to allow people to live with dignity while working full time,” says Carter. “Our belief at Maryland Working Families is that nobody working a full time job should be living in poverty.”
She also says these minimum wage workers will put this extra money back into the economy. “Studies from across the United States have shown that when you raise the minimum wage, that money goes immediately into the local economy,” says Carter. “Those people aren’t saving that money. They’re spending that money to live. And so they’re spending on housing. They’re spending it on food. They’re spending it on clothing for their children. They’re spending it at the doctors.”
And, she points out, minimum wage workers are not all college students earning money to pay for college, or high graduates working their first full time jobs. “Most minimum wage workers are adult women with children,” says Carter. “It’s far different from what we may originally thought of the minimum wage being for kids who are 16-years-old with their first job.”
Opponents of raising the minimum wage say it could potentially lead to job losses, especially for those who need to work to survive, or young people just starting out in the labor force. But Carter says there’s no evidence of that. “The minimum wage has gone up more than 200 times since it was first established by Congress. And in that, we’ve not seen a loss in jobs due to the minimum wage,” she says.
There’s been a movement around the country to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Carter says the 2017 Maryland General Assembly is expected to take up a bill to do just that. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour tries to close the gap between giving people who are doing some very important work in our society, the opportunity to bring in enough money to feed themselves and their families,” says Carter.
By Kevin McManus