Reporting Kai Jackson
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A push to raise Maryland’s minimum wage by almost 40 percent falls short at the State House.
A Senate committee voted down a bill to hike the rate to $10 an hour, but supporters aren’t giving up.
Kai Jackson has more on a rally that drew workers from across the state to Annapolis.
It’s a fight over finances, as people take sides on the issue of the minimum wage.
An effort called “Raise Maryland” is leading the charge to boost the minimum pay that workers receive. Supporters rallied for it Thursday, and argue it’s a quality of life issue whose time has come.
“The situation of our neighbors is my situation. So if I have neighbors who are not earning what they should earn it affects me. It affects the entire community,” said William Lamar.
Currently the state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. There’s a bill in the House that would gradually raise it to $10 an hour by 2015.
Lawmakers say a measure in a Senate committee to boost the wage died.
“Unfortunately the Senate Finance Committee voted the bill down this year. However, we’re very hopeful that next year we can finally pass a fair minimum wage here in the state of Maryland,” said Del. Aisha Braveboy.
Supporters say a paycheck might allow families and individuals to get by, but argue a fair and livable wage helps them get ahead and keeps families out of poverty.
Opponents disagree, saying new wage mandates in a soft economy kills jobs.
“The fact that people can work and still cannot afford to live is actually a disgrace first of all in this country,” said Ethel Shepard-Powell.
While the debate over the issue continues in the Maryland legislature, advocates for the working and the business community are gearing up for a fight.
Senators who oppose the raise say it would hurt small businesses and their workers by forcing them to cut jobs.