BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An effort to increase the minimum wage reaches Baltimore City Hall. The proposed increase could impact thousands of workers, WJZ’s George Solis reports.

On Thursday, Carolyn Taylor-Chester joined others in the “Fight for $15” movement to convince city leaders to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2022.

“We don’t have enough money to live on and pay our bills,” said Taylor-Chester.

Maryland’s current minimum is $8.75 but will increase to $10.10 in 2018.

“In our eyes, we need $15 today,” said Ricarra Jones, Fight for $15. “But we also know this is good for business, it’s good for the economy. You know, when people make more money, they spend more money.”

The group estimates nearly 100,000 workers in the city would benefit from higher salaries.

Some businesses fear the wage increase may actually do more harm than good, telling WJZ higher salaries come at a cost some may not be willing to pay.

“We’d need to lay off some employees, we’d need to decrease hours on other employees in order to stay competitive in the marketplace,” said Gail Furman, Max’x Taphouse.

“It will have a major impact on small businesses like ours,” said Mouhcine Benkharafa, Twist.

As an answer to those concerns, the proposal looks to exclude businesses that make less than $500,000 a year or have less than 25 employees.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” Jones said.

Tipped workers would also see a benefit if the plan passes. Their wage would increase to $5 an hour by 2020.

If approved, minimum wage would keep going up past the 2022 cutoff. The full City Council will look at the plan next month.

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