Montgomery executive says he would sign wage increase legislation -- Gazette.Net


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The sponsor of a bill that would raise Montgomery County’s minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017 is confident the bill will pass when it comes before the council for a vote next week.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Marc Elrich (D-At Large) of Takoma Park, would incrementally increase Montgomery’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017. Maryland’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The bill is similar to legislation pending in Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.

The County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled to discuss the bill at a meeting Thursday, and it’s scheduled to come before the full council for a vote on Nov. 26, Elrich said.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) wrote in a letter to Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda that he would sign the bill if the council passes it.

Leggett wrote that he supported a bill in the General Assembly last year that would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour, but the legislation didn’t get passed.

“There is no guarantee that such an effort will succeed in the General Assembly this year or in the foreseeable future,” Leggett wrote. “Accordingly, I support Bill 27-13 to increase the minimum wage now.”

Leggett told the Gazette on Nov. 12 that he would still prefer a statewide bill.

In response to questions in Berliner’s letter, Leggett wrote that he believes Montgomery’s higher standard of living would justify the county having a higher wage than the rest of the state, although he’s willing to discuss what that wage should be and how long it takes to be phased in.

Leggett also said he didn’t think an increase would hurt the county economically, since it’s home to few minimum wage workers, but the increase for those workers would likely lead to them spending more money in the county.

The Montgomery committee’s meeting comes as the bills in Prince George’s and the District are reaching their final stages.

The Prince George’s County Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday, but it wasn’t clear Monday if a vote would be scheduled.

Meanwhile, a bill in the District could be marked up before Thanksgiving, according to the Washington Post.

Elrich, who worked with officials in the other jurisdictions to coordinate their respective legislation, said he’s confident the bill will get at least the five members needed to pass.

“I think they can get there,” he said.

Staff writer Jeffrey K. Lyles contributed to this report



rmarshall@gazette.net