(March 27, 2019 – ANNAPOLIS, Md.) From Allegheny to Worcester, businesses small, large and in between came to Annapolis to voice their opposition in the fight against Maryland’s $15 minimum wage. With the veto from Governor Larry Hogan today, Maryland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Christine Ross said, “It’s nice to be heard.”
“We’ve heard first hand that the $15 minimum wage increase would impact thousands of businesses across the state,” said Ross. “Instead of threatening jobs, losing businesses and risking the competitiveness of Maryland, we need to focus on job training and workforce development. It’s the most meaningful way to permanently and positively impact the lives of those that have economic and social challenges.”
In Gov. Hogan’s letter to General Assembly leadership he stated, “Now is not the time to reverse course and put Maryland back on the previous path to economic stagnation.”
“One recent study on the issue of a $15 minimum wage concluded that Maryland private sector employment would be reduced by over 99,000 jobs and our state’s economic output would decline by more than $61 billion over the next decade. The same report estimates that more than half of the job losses would be in small businesses.”
It’s the same story that the Maryland Chamber is hearing from its member businesses. A $15 minimum wage will result in cuts in employee programs, layoffs, and for some—it will force them to shut their doors or move across state lines all together. These unintended consequences would harm the very people this bill is intended to support.
Hogan continued, “Just as the minimum wage would cost jobs and deny those who need them most an entry into the labor market, the gains from a minimum wage increase are projected to be unevenly distributed. It is projected that only 20 percent of any new income would go to those below the poverty line, the rest would go to individuals above poverty.”
Hogan’s suggested compromise to the bill includes a phased increase of two dollars to $12.10 by 2022. He further offered additional provisions including: a trigger making increases above this amount effective only contingent on surrounding states reaching a combined average of 80 percent of our wage, differentiating the increase to account for geographical differences, and tax relief for working families that are below the poverty line.
The Maryland Chamber’s President & CEO Christine Ross said, “We appreciate and applaud the Governor’s dedication to making Maryland a place that actually is ‘Open for Business’. We look forward to working toward a solution that will enhance opportunity, economic growth and ultimately our state’s future.”