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Small businesses see new minimum wage law as a "business killer" for them

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MoCo LogoWhile local union members and activists cheered and waved their “Fight for $15” signs on Monday as Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett signed legislation Monday to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour, some small business owners fear that their livelihoods and those of the people they employ will be hurt by the mandated increases.

“It will force me out of business,” said Richard Gorinson, owner of J&S Shoes in Wheaton.

Gorinson said “[B]y the time it goes into effect, I’ll go out of business.”

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Elrich spearheads County’s minimum wage increase

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20171107 121455Marc Elrich stands with fellow Council members and community leaders in announcing the passing of the minimum wage increase legislation. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEY  ROCKVILLE – The minimum wage in Montgomery County Council will soon begin a slow rise from its current level of $11.50 per hour to an eventual $15 an hour, ending a year filled with debate, endless amendments and compromise upon compromise among members of the Montgomery County Council, which voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve Bill 18-27.

The bill now heads to the desk of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who in January vetoed a prior attempt by the Council to pass a minimum wage bill, but said in a statement Tuesday that he plans on signing the revised legislation.

“Based on the changes from the original bill, what the County Council approved today is close enough to the conditions I laid down for my support that I will sign the measure into law,” Leggett said.

Incremental change is the centerpiece of the bill, which will require employers to incrementally increase their minimum wage to $15 per hour over the course of the next six years.

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Firm admits mistakes in minimum wage study

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MoCo LogoThe County-hired consulting firm that conducted a study on raising the minimum wage in Montgomery County said it made a mistake when calculating the results.

“Obviously we take full responsibility for the error in our study,” said Dean Kaplan, managing director of PFM Consulting, the Philadelphia-based firm that conducted the study.

Back when PFM Consulting originally published its study, for which the County paid $149, 600, Leggett said the numbers were sobering. He said the projected job loss results were significant for the County, adding that even half the projected number would be a lot.

“The numbers are so staggering that if you were to still cut it in half, you still have a pretty substantial number,” Leggett said after the study was first released.

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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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Elrich proposes a minimum wage raise

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Going into their month-long August break, County Council members will have one main issue on their minds – whether to increase the County’s minimum wage.

With the Council waiting for a County-commissioned study to be released within about a week, Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), introduced another bill, Bill 28-17, Tuesday to increase the County minimum wage to $15 per hour.

“Poverty is expensive and taxpayers often wind up footing the bill, and it’s not fair to ask Montgomery County taxpayers to pays subside to Wal-Mart workers,” Elrich said.

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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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Progressives gather to continue Bernie support

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More than 150 self-described political progressives crammed into a Rockville library meeting room designed to seat less than half that number Sunday afternoon to see how they could keep fighting for the causes they believed in even while Donald Trump is president.

“I’m a huge Bernie (Sanders) supporter. I’m really concerned about seeing the momentum continued,” said Debbie Spielberg of Silver Spring. “The question is now, given everything that happened, how do we move on?”

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HHS committee split on minimum wage bill

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ROCKVILLE – The County Council continued their debate over raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour during a Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee meeting Wednesday.

The committee discussed Bill 12-16, which would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.

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County mulls wage hike

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ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Council member Marc Elrich (D-At large) said his proposed bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 is just playing catch up.

Elrich said his plan to raise the minimum wage will not lift people out of poverty but help lower income workers provide for themselves.

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Minimum wage hike debated

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ROCKVILLE – Fallout from the county’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 came as expected Tuesday night as business owners and laborers found themselves on opposite sides of the issue.

Forty people testified Tuesday night about Bill 12-16, which would raise the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour in 2018, $13.75 per hour in 2019 and $15 per hour in 2020.

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