Montgomery Co. to hear from public on latest bill to boost minimum wage

GAITHERSBURG, Md. – Residents and business owners will be able to weigh in Tuesday night on Montgomery County’s latest attempt to boost the county’s minimum wage. 

The latest bill introduced by Councilmember Marc Elrich is different from one that failed earlier this year: It offers a slower phase-in period for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, tax-exempt businesses and home-based services such as day cares.

Businesses that qualify for a slower schedule will have two additional years, which gives them a deadline of 2022 to raise their wages to $15 an hour.

Council President Roger Berliner said that since the last bill, he has heard from many small businesses that fear an increase too fast could end their businesses. Berliner said the job of the council is reconciling what he calls “two truths.”

“It is true people work too hard for too little, and it is true that our small businesses would be negatively impacted,” Berliner said.

Earlier this year, County Executive Ike Leggett vetoed a similar bill, but said in a letter to the council that he did so “reluctantly” because he wanted the increase to be completed “over an appropriate time frame.”

The hope by supporters of the new measure is the availability of a slower implementation schedule for some businesses and a “safety valve,” which will allow the county executive to temporarily stop the increase during the phase-in period, will be enough to get Leggett’s approval.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the county council’s third floor meeting room at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville, Maryland.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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