Maryland Lawmakers Discuss Minimum Wage Increase

Under proposed legislation, the state of Maryland’s minimum wage could increase by 40%  over the next three years.  Currently, the minimum wage in the State is $7.25/hr and would increase to $10 by 2013.  The Gazette reports:

The proposal would gradually boost the minimum wage over three years — to $8.25 in 2011, $9.10 in 2012 and $10 in 2013. In future years, the minimum wage would be tied to the Consumer Price Index, which 10 states currently use to alter their levels.

Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown, who will be the bill’s chief sponsor in his chamber, acknowledged a minimum wage hike would be a “challenging undertaking,” but said there is data to prove an increase would have a positive economic impact.

Heidi Shierholz, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan think tank, cited a 2008 report by the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago that estimated the federal minimum wage increase in 2009 spurred consumer spending by $5.5 billion. That’s because minimum wage households spent their additional income, rather than holding on to it, she said.

“This is something that can give the economy a boost,” Shierholz said.

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