Baltimore’s City Council appears determined to move forward with legislation that would phase in minimum wage increases to reach $15 per hour by 2022.
This iteration of the legislation has been somewhat improved over what was introduced last year, but it still fails to address its most basic flaws, which namely is that it places small businesses in the City at a competitive disadvantage to those in the surrounding counties.
This flaw is what led Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett to veto a similar bill last year.
Proponents like to point to a study that focuses on the impact when cities like Seattle and San Francisco adopted a $15 an hour wage. But there is a stark difference between Baltimore City’s economy and its surrounding counties and of those other cities and surrounding areas. Baltimore City is substantially poorer than those counties which surround it, whereas San Francisco and Seattle are substantially richer.
The prospects of defeating the bill have not been encouraging, given City Council President Jack Young’s recent vocal support. However, Mayor Pugh has expressed real concern on the impact such an increase would have on Baltimore City’s many small business owners.