Maryland Closer to Passing $10.10 Minimum Wage

April 3, 2014

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour advanced in the Senate on Wednesday, but only after a key committee stretched out the timetable two years beyond what the governor had proposed.

The Senate Finance Committee amended the bill so that the statewide minimum would reach $10.10 by mid-2018, providing a boost in pay for several hundred thousand low-wage workers but increasing payrolls for many employers.

“We tried to help the business community by slowing it down,” said Sen. Thomas M. Midldeton (D-Charles), chairman of the finance committee.

Middleton’s panel, which voted 7 to 4 for the bill, was the largest remaining hurdle for the legislation, which cleared the House of Delegates last month. A second Senate committee must sign off before the bill heads to the Senate floor.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said it is possible that his chamber will accept the changes made by the Senate, avoiding the need for additional negotiations between the chambers in the waning days of the session.

If the bill passes before Monday, when the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the year, Maryland would become the second state to adopt a statewide minimum wage of $10.10, a figure advocated by President Obama. Last week, Connecticut lawmakers passed legislation to raise the wage to that level by 2017.

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