On Monday, Baltimore City Council passed a bill that would increase minimum wage to $15 hour by 2022 on an 11-3 vote. Mayor Catherine Pugh’s finance department warnings about how such an increase could end up costing taxpayers $115 million over a four-year span was brushed aside. The city workers’ wages would increase and those costs would fall back onto taxpayers.
Supporting the measurement was John Bullock, Robert Stokes, Kristerfer Burnett, Shannon Sneed, Edward Reisinger, Ryan Dorsey, Zeke Cohen, Bill Henry, Mary Pat Clarke and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
San Francisco, Washington and Seattle have already passed similar measures, which is something that low-wage workers have advocated for years. Pugh will now be left with the decision to veto or sign the bill. Since, Pugh campaigned for the measure, the City Council members hopes she stands by her promise and signs the bill into law. The Council can override the mayoral veto with just twelve votes.
According to Anthony McCarthy, Pugh’s spokesman, a decision will be made “within the next few day.” He went on to say that high police overtime expenses were stretching the city’s budget already, as the city’ public school system is facing a $130 million deficit.
Donald C. Fry, the group’s president, said he was “very disappointed in the City Council’s decision to increase the minimum wage despite the concerns expressed by the business community, cultural institutions, nonprofit organizations, and city government agencies.”
The legislation would put Baltimore at a disadvantage, because the surrounding counties hourly minimum wage would be about $5 an hour lower.
The Maryland minimum wage is currently $8.75 per hour and set to increase by 2018 to $10.10 an hour. If Pugh signs the bill, Baltimore’s wage would continue to rise to $15 by 2022.