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County’s HHS amends minimum wage proposal to $15 an hour

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MoCo LogoThe County Council Health and Human Services Committee voted to make two amendments to the current proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The HHS committee voted 2-1 to extend the implementation period by two years and change the definition of a small business from one of 25 employees or less to 50 employees or less.

“It’s very difficult to project what can to happen in the future. We have a madman in the White House,” said Council member and HHS Committee Chairperson George Leventhal (D-at large). “We don’t know where the economy is going to go. Currently the economy remains strong despite the uncertainty of our federal leadership.”

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Council weighs in on minimum wage increase

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ROCKVILLE – There were not enough seats in the third floor hearing room at the County Council Building Tuesday night during the public hearing for the latest bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

County residents, activist and leaders packed the County Council building during the public hearing for Bill 28-17, which would increase the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 for some businesses from its current minimum wage of $11.50 per hour. Bill 28-17 is the second attempt by Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large) and others to successfully pass a minimum wage increase into law after County Executive Ike Leggett vetoed the last bill to do so.

Bill 28-17 would also give small businesses with 25 employees or fewer an extra two years, until 2022, to increase their minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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Push back on minimum wage study by County

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MoCo LogoLast week’s release of a Montgomery County-commissioned study if the County increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour was a devastating blow to its proponents.

The results of the study, conducted by Philadelphia-based PFM Consulting group, are a dark prediction for minimum wage increase advocates, projecting the County would lose 47,000 jobs and $396.5 million in aggregate by 2022. The study also concludes that the County’s current minimum wage of $11.50 per hour is too high and the ideal minimum wage for the County would be $11 per hour.

Despite the sharp public relations blow the study dealt to their plan for a minimum wage increase, the members of the County Council that voted in favor of it have no intentions of backing down. However, even with the anticipated public rebuke of the study when its authors speak to the Council on Sept. 19, finding a way to increase the minimum wage will be a daunting task.Advocates on the Council for the minimum wage increase have attacked the study’s methodology saying it was conducted to reflect the sentiments of business owners surveys, saying the study were biased in favor of the feelings of business owners, not economic science.

“To me it’s just a total bogus study,” said Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), the lead sponsor of the bill to increase the minimum wage.

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General Assembly draws County ire over minimum wage

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While the County Council is split on raising the minimum wage, it is unanimously opposed to a bill in the General Assembly that would prevent the County from raising the minimum wage.

House Bill 317 would prohibit local jurisdictions in Maryland from raising the minimum wage. While the council is split on raising the minimum wage in the County, it – along with the County Executive Ike Leggett – is opposed to the bill.

Berliner, who voted against the bill to raise the minimum wage in the County to $15 per hour, said he is against the state’s preempting the County.

“While we may differ internally as to the right path to 15 dollars an hour, we are unanimous in believing that it is our responsibility, not something the state should assume for itself,” said Council President Roger Berliner (D-1). “This state has great diversity, and our situation is not the same as Garrett County, our situation is not the same as St. Mary’s County, and we are in the best position to address the needs of our people.”

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Leggett vetoes minimum wage bill

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County Executive Ike Leggett vetoed a bill that would have increased the County minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.

On. Jan 21, the bill passed the council 5-4, proposing to increase the minimum wage steadily each year till it reached $15 per hour in 2020. The current County minimum wage is $10.75 and is set to increase to $11.75 due to a previous County law passed in 2013.

In November, Leggett wrote a letter to the Council requesting the Council make changes, including delaying the full increase to $15 per to 2022 instead of 2020 and an “off ramp” that would allow the County to delay scheduled minimum wage increases in times of economic downturn.

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County Raises Minimum Wage

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Council passes minimum wage raise, now awaits Leggett's signature

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ROCKVILLE – After many debates, protests and public hearings, the County Council voted Tuesday to increase the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.

Now Bill 12-16 awaits County Executive Ike Leggett’s signature before it can become law. Patrick Lacefield, a spokesperson for the County, said Leggett has not decided whether he plans to sign the minimum wage increase in to law.

“We're still reviewing it; we haven't made a decision,” Lacefield said.

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