BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Support is growing for an increase in Maryland’s minimum wage. Baltimore leaders join in a call to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports a similar effort failed last year.
Bruce Gross took his family to City Hall last year to support a hike in the minimum wage.
“I can’t raise my kids or my family on that type of money,” Gross said. “I go through months where I have to make a decision to pay bills or getting food in the house for the children.”
Thursday, Chantress Wyles is pleading the case.
“I worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years,” she said.
Baltimore City Hall is again calling state lawmakers to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage for Marylanders like Gross and Wyles.
“You know you have to pay gas and electric, you have to pay rent, and you have to put food on your table to survive. The cost of these things go up, but the wages don’t,” Wyles said.
“We came to say that Maryland needs a raise today,” supporters chanted.
But the rally in Annapolis in March of this year failed to gather the support necessary in the Senate Finance Committee to move the bill to a vote.
Supporters hope this year will be different.
“Very seldom do minimum wage workers get what they’re worth,” said Del. Curt Anderson, (D-Baltimore).
Minimum wage jobs pay $7.25 an hour. That gives a fulltime worker $15,080 a year to live on. A bill to be introduced next year raises the pay to $10.10 an hour by 2016.
“When we raise the minimum wage we are raising the buying power for the people who are supporting our local economy,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
A Baltimore City Council resolution urges the General Assembly to pass the bill.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, which focuses on the needs of low and middle-income workers, one in five working Marylanders would benefit from a minimum wage increase.
Last week, President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.