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Maryland minimum wage rally with people holding signs saying
Minimum wage may be on the back burner in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, but it's moving ahead in the states. Maryland is on the brink of becoming the second state to increase its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, with General Assembly holding a final vote Monday and Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature a certainty as he campaigned for an even stronger measure. It's not a perfect bill; $10.10 won't be reached until 2018, and:
It also freezes the base wage for tipped workers at $3.63 per hour, which is 50 percent of the federal minimum wage but not the proposed state wage. O’Malley had proposed increasing that base wage to 70 percent of the state’s minimum wage, which eventually could have been more than $7 per hour.

Businesses would also be allowed to pay a lower training wage — 85 percent of the state minimum wage — to workers under the age of 20 for their first six months. And some businesses are set to be exempt from paying the full higher state minimum: seasonal amusement parks, cafes and restaurants with annual income below $400,000 and the state’s one drive-in movie theater.

Those are some significant loopholes, and a $3.63 tipped worker minimum, while substantially higher than the federal rate of $2.13 an hour, is likely to keep high poverty rates among tipped workers. Still, Maryland is making progress, which is more than you can say of the federal government.

Maryland isn't the only state working on this issue. Legislators in Minnesota are close to a deal to raise their state's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, with increases tied to inflation but within the governor's power to veto. And in Massachusetts, the state House and Senate are agreed on raising the minimum wage above $10.10 an hour, but they can't agree whether to raise it to $10.50 an hour and pass it along with unemployment insurance reform, as the House wants, or separate those issues and raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour, as the Senate wants.

"Maryland’s important action is a reminder," President Barack Obama said in a statement following the vote, "that many states, cities and counties—as well as a majority of the American people—are way ahead of Washington on this crucial issue." Count Minnesota and Massachusetts in that reminder as well.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Laura, it done gone over the brink. (8+ / 0-)

    Vote happened.

    WaPo's Jenna Johnson:

    Legislation to increase Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018 is now ready for Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to sign into law following a final vote by the Maryland House of Delegates on Monday.

    Increasing the minimum wage has been O’Malley’s top priority in his final legislative session, although he has seen his original proposal dragged out and loaded with exemptions. The House voted 87 to 47 on Monday to accept additional changes to the legislation made by the Senate.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:35:43 AM PDT

  •  will take years (5+ / 0-)

    I think the $10.10 won't take effect until Jan 2018. Goes to $8 in Jan then $8.25 in july 2015 and goes up incrementally over the next couple of years until it hits $10.10 in Jan 2018.
    Any increase is good, but it won't really have an immediate impact.

  •  Meanwhile, in real living wage news... (8+ / 0-)

    San Francisco activists will today file a ballot initiative for $15/hr.  SF already demands health care be included, so this increase would put SF far and away above any other municipality, including Seattle if they ever do manage to pass something.

    Richmond, CA passed an increase of the minimum wage to $12.30/hr by 2017 or 2018.

    And in Oakland, a ballot initiative for $12.25/hr plus paid sick leave is gathering signatures.

  •  What no love for first state to pass hike? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itzik shpitzik, aitchdee, TofG, kfunk937

    You guys are all johnny come latelys.  Connecticut hiked our minimum wages a few weeks ago now to $10.10 in 2017.  A year earlier than Maryland.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 01:01:24 PM PDT

  •  Better than even odds in Vermont... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    El Bloguero, Odysseus, TofG, kfunk937

    ...this legislative session, which ends in a few weeks.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:16:49 PM PDT

  •  there are so many ways the restaurant industry (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Odysseus, BlueKS, aitchdee

    screws over it's workers, I say forget the existence of tipping and make all workers get the minimum wage.

    •  Tipping (0+ / 0-)

      Workers shouldn't have to depend on the generosity of the public for their wages.. Restaurant owners can either run a profitable business, while paying decent wages, or they have the right to go out of business PERIOD!
      Restaurant owners have been getting a free ride at the expense of the public and their worker for far too many years.

      •  In my hometown (0+ / 0-)

        There are several privately owned restaurants that have popped up paying substantially OVER minimum wage for their servers and kitchen staff, and they do not "pressure" for any tipping at all.  If you want to donate to a charity, they would gladly take your donation and donate it for you.  I hope this trend spreads to the major chains as well.  I thought this was a great idea and I plan to give them my business soon.   ( I don't eat out very often).

  •  But wait... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, TofG, crankypatriot

    I'm delighted that Maryland has (1) upped the minimum wage and (2) decriminalized pot and straighted out its medical marijuana mess, and these are steps in the right direction, but when you consider that we are the Bluest of Blue states, that there are majorities in both houses and in the statehouse, this are all pretty weak measures as far as actual policies go. So I'm happy, but the glass is definitely half empty.

    I should add that there have been 44 homicides in Baltimore so far in 2014, and using police resources to arrest anybody on pot possession (which was a misdemeanor and carried a potential jail sentence) is something that should have been ended back in the second season of the Wire or the end of Homicide.

  •  I keep hoping (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, TofG

    that voters in red states like mine will start noticing how much better life is becoming in the blue states that are passing progressive measures like these, and that finally, at long last, they'll wake up and realize that if they'd quit voting R, they could have nice things, too.

  •  Minnesota is going to $9.50 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee

    Heard it on the radio today. Plus, it will be automatically indexed to inflation. But it will phase in over a year or two.

    The state House and state Senate have agreed on details of the law and the Governor will sign it.

    The local news interviewed a guy who owns a restaurant. He's against it, of course.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 11:49:58 PM PDT

  •  Good news...except rapacious MD has what, a 9-10% (0+ / 0-)

    income tax?

  •  Good for Maryland. Pa., unfortunately, even with a (0+ / 0-)

    Democratic (non-Tom Wolf) governor would be unlikely to do so, since the GOP is probably favored to retain hold of at least one gerrymandered state legislative chamber.

  •  Massachusetts (0+ / 0-)

    The UI issue seems to have receded, but the big differences between the House bill and Senate bill are: $10.50 vs. $11, not indexed to inflation vs. indexed, raise tipped minimum wage to $3.75 vs. $5.50. On all counts the Senate bill's better.

    A compromise will either happen in conference committee, or they'll get hung up on a procedural snag and the two bills will sit there, neither eligible to go to the governor. I'd venture they'll figure out a way to send something to the governor.

    “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:00:32 PM PDT

  •  A great move toward raising the minimum wage! (0+ / 0-)

    Since the House of Representatives in Congress has been dicking around to avoid passing legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, it's awesome news that certain individual states assemblies are bypassing the federal government and taking action on this issue themselves. Even if the laws eventually passed in Maryland, Washington and Minnesota may be far from perfect, at least those states are setting precedent for other states to follow. Raising the minimum wage is an important first step toward reducing the income disparity between the very wealthy and the working poor.

    After Congress passed a bill that slashed SNAP benefits, some states found a loophole in the law that allowed them to keep food stamp recipients' benefits from being cut. House Speaker John "Tan Man" Boehner immediately began huffing and puffing to the media and the public, bitching about how the states who circumvented Congress' bill by using the loophole to avoid cutting SNAP benefits were breaking constitutional law. Hmmm... What happened to the conservatives' stance of reducing the federal government's intrusion into our lives, and their opinion that the individual states should be responsible for enacting laws affecting their citizens? Fucking hypocrites.

  •  Do the math ... (0+ / 0-)

    Evan at $10.10 an hour, those earning minimum wage are still behind. Simply adjusting the minimum wage for inflation - depending on your source - puts it in the $15 to over $20 an hour range.

    One thing is CERTAIN - and cannot be argued ... our oligarchs have had their wages increased and adjusted well beyond inflation. All thanks to the Republican Party - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Corporate Elite.

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