The move to increase the minimum from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour has been a key theme in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s final year in office and has been steadily gaining popularity in the state. An October 2013 poll by Goucher College showed 74 percent of Marylanders support raising the wage to $10 per hour, while only 24 percent opposed it.
The issue gained more momentum in January when President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would sign an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10, a figure consistent with the 1960s’ minimum wage adjusted for inflation.
“Raising the minimum wage makes good business sense: when workers have more money, businesses have more customers, growing our economy in a way that works,” O’Malley said in a statement March 7. “Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage higher than Maryland. As one of the top states for upward economic mobility, it’s time to give Maryland workers a raise.”
The Baltimore Jewish Council announced its support for raising the wage for the state’s lowest-paid workers in October, when it released a policy statement advocating for a wage that would enable workers to “earn over the federal poverty line.”
“We’re pleased with [passage of the] the legislation we support,” said Arthur Abramson, the BJC’s executive director. “We applaud the legislature and we applaud the governor.”
Next, the bill moves to the Senate, where it awaits consideration by the Finance Committee.