Approving raises to the minimum wage will have to wait as the Prince George’s County Council decided not to vote on a bill that would raise the minimum wage by a total of $4.25 over a three-year period.
County Council Chairwoman Andrea Harrison (D-Dist. 5) of Springdale said the council was waiting on information from Montgomery County before it passed the bill.
The minimum wage bill was announced as a regional collaboration between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Washington, D.C., to limit competition with other counties that may attract businesses with lower employee wages.
“At some point we have to act and do the job we were elected to do,” Harrison said during the council’s Tuesday meeting. “There is unanimous support on this council for this bill.”
The bill would raise the county’s minimum wage to $11.50 over a three-year period with incremental increases. Employees who were exempt from state and federal wage laws and employees under the age of 18 working 20 or less hours would be exempt, according to the bill.
David Iannucci, the county executive’s assistant deputy chief administrative officer for economic development and public infrastructure, was in favor of the council’s delay in moving forward.
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) supports a statewide solution to minimum wage increases, but the next best step would be a regional decision such as the current process with Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., Iannucci said. If Prince George’s County were to raise the wage alone, the high-end retail stores that county residents are looking for may choose to build in other locations, he said.
“It was wise to wait and determine what D.C. and Montgomery County were going to do,” Iannucci said. “We have serious concerns about the ability of Prince George’s County’s economy to stand alone with a higher wage scale than our neighbors.”
No date has been set for the vote, but Harrison said the plan is to vote on the bill before the end of the council’s 2013 legislative session.
Bills that don’t receive a vote by the end of the session are said to have failed and must be reintroduced, according to council rules.
Tuesday was the last meeting of the 2013 legislative session for the council. However, a date to vote on the bill should be set soon and that meeting will be advertised to the public, said County Council spokeswoman Karen D. Campbell.