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Montgomery County Council Approves Minimum Wage Raise

The bill calls for the minimum wage to increase to $11.50 per hour by 2017.

The minimum wage in Montgomery County, MD will increase to $11.50 by 2017 under a bill the Montgomery County Council passed 8-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. FILE | Patch
The minimum wage in Montgomery County, MD will increase to $11.50 by 2017 under a bill the Montgomery County Council passed 8-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. FILE | Patch

After a final reading that went on for hours, the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday voted 8-1 to approve a bill that will spike minimum wages to $11.50 per hour by 2017.

The Montgomery County bill increases the wage in yearly steps. The bill was sponsored by Marc Elrich (D-At Large).

“The final bill we passed today isn’t perfect, but it is meaningful and important. Our residents will see a real and significant increase in the money they earn for their hard day’s labor,” Elrich said in a statement emailed shortly after the vote.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said he would sign the bill into law.

“I supported the unsuccessful effort last year at the State level to increase the minimum wage and strongly believe that Montgomery County should act now,” Leggett said in a statement. “I believe it is appropriate, given our higher cost-of-living, for the county to have a higher minimum wage than other parts of the state.”

Federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour and that is also the rate for Maryland.

The local bill included an amendment that extended the phase-in period from three years to four.

The bill’s co-sponsors Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Mid-County) and Valerie Ervin (D-Eastern County) said they were concerned that implementing the wage over a four-year stretch would hurt the chances of regional action, The Washington Post reports.

Prince George’s County Council held off on a vote on a similar bill to see how Montgomery County would act. 

After Montgomery County’s vote, DC and Prince George’s County leaders told The Washington Post on Tuesday night that their plans remained “intact.” 

Wednesday morning, Prince George’s County Council also voted to increase its minimum wage to $11.50 over the next four years, The Post reported.

The Washington, DC Council was expected to vote on its minimum wage bill Dec. 3.

Montgomery Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Rockville and Gaithersburg) voted no.

“Last month, I joined all of my colleagues in passing a resolution urging the state to significantly raise the minimum wage. That was, and still is, the best approach," Andrews said. "I am disappointed that the County Council has rushed ahead and unnecessarily adopted a minimum wage bill that is so flawed."

Dick November 28, 2013 at 08:44 AM
Wages go up - prices go up. Low skill workers are worse off. There will be fewer low skill jobs as employers get more creative in eliminating jobs to survive.
Piotr Gajewski November 28, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Dick, do you have an example of what you describe really happening in the past as a result of minimum wage increase. Because from everything I've read, while what you describe is a lovely, and perhaps on some level intuitive, theory - throughout history, minimum wage increases have actually never played out that way. Laboratory results trump theories!
C.Z. Guy November 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Piotr: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/07/raising-the-minimum-wage-hurts-vulnerable-workers-job-prospects-without-reducing-poverty try specific references to "everything you've read" as well
Piotr Gajewski November 28, 2013 at 05:19 PM
C.Z.guy: Of course it does not get more partisan than the Heritage Foundation. Any non-partisan sources? Also, even the article you cite refers to a study which concedes: "Neumark and Wascher found that minimum wage hikes increased the probability that poor families escaped poverty..." Not that I am impressed by that particular study. But I will bite - so, would you, sir, advocate eliminating minimum wage altogether? Meanwhile, you will find cites to much more comprehensive studies on the subject here: www.businessforafairminimumwage.org. Hope you go and read some of this (as I did what you cited) and we can come back to a more informed discussion.

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