Montgomery delegation backs $10.10 minimum wage -- Gazette.Net







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This story was updated at 5:25 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2014.

The majority of Montgomery County’s state delegation has backed a bill to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2016.

All eight senators and all but a few of the county’s 24 delegates signed a letter supporting the bill, Sen. Jamin B. Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park said.

The sign-on letter details support for raising the wage to $10.10 by 2016 as well as indexing the future minimum wage to the rate of inflation to keep pace with the cost of living and raising the minimum wage for tipped workers from 50 to 70 percent of the minimum wage.

“Maryland is a great place to live, but it’s expensive to live here,” Raskin said. “We have to lift up the people who are struggling to make ends meet at the bottom of the income ladder.”

Maryland now follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

As Montgomery lines up behind raising wages to $10.10 per hour, Baltimore City Del. Keith E. Haynes (D-Dist. 44) has pre-filed competing legislation in the House to raise the wage to $12.50 per hour.

Haynes’ bill does not detail a provision to index the future wage or a provision to increase wages for tipped workers.

While Raskin said it is great that lawmakers are floating other proposals, the tipped worker wage is key for him.

He also said $10.10 is not an opening statement for bargaining the minimum wage.

Locally, minimum wages are on the rise.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties both passed laws in late 2013 to raise their local wages to $11.50 per hour by 2017.

But labor and county officials have claimed efforts are underway in Annapolis to override those wage increases.

Raskin said he will resist any such effort.

“I’m confident that the Senate would not accept any attempt to override county minimum wage increases,” he said.

As lawmakers prepare to return to Annapolis for the 2014 session, the Attorney General’s Office is drafting a letter of advice that would explain the legal issues surrounding the minimum wage, said spokesman Alan Brody.