The current minimum wage in Maryland is $11.75. However, in 2019, Maryland’s General Assembly overrode Governor Hogan’s veto and raised the minimum wage to $15.00. Under this legislation, businesses with at least 15 employees will have to pay workers a series of increases starting on January 1, 2020, to arrive at $15.00 per hour by 2025. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees will have an extra year to raise wages to $15.00 per hour (so by 2026).
Although Maryland is one of the few states gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, for a state that’s cost of living is so high, Solis believes that is still too low. No one who works full time should live in poverty and although $15.00 is an increase to $11.75, it still keeps workers in poverty. That is why she supports raising the minimum wage gradually to $17.00 an hour. She also supports providing tax credits for small businesses. The purpose of these tax credits is to compensate small businesses for raising the wage and allow small businesses to compete with larger businesses while paying their workers a living wage.
When governments raise the wages of the lowest workers, those workers put in right back into the local economy by putting food on the table for their families, paying rent, and going to local small businesses. Increasing the minimum wage helps local communities do better.
Seattle is an example of this. The city of Seattle, in 2015, raised the minimum wage to $16.39 for businesses with over 501 employees (regardless of medical benefits) and $15.75 for businesses with 500 or fewer employees, if the business does not provide medical or tip benefits, and $13.50 for businesses with 500 or fewer employees, if the business does offer medical and tip benefits. Seattle not only saw its local businesses open new branches, but it continued to have high employment and had the lowest unemployment rate in the country for the next several years.
Giving money to workers so they can buy goods and services is good for the economy. These workers are not putting money away for stock trades, their money goes immediately right back into the local community. Thus, for these reasons, Solis supports raising the minimum wage to $17.00 an hour.