Signers include Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliance; Annapolis Sustainable Business Alliance; National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association; John Shepley, Co-Owner, Emory Knoll Farms; Craig Sewell, Owner, A Cook’s Cafe; Carmen Ortiz Larsen, President, Aquas Inc.; Brian England, Owner, British American Auto Care; Ida Cheinman, Founder, Substance151; Michael Vermehren, Vice President, RF Valves; Andy Shallal, Owner, Eatonville and Busboys & Poets Restaurants; more. Click for FULL LIST IN FORMATION.
A higher minimum wage makes good sense for our Maryland economy. It puts money in the hands of the people who will put it right back into local businesses, buying needed goods and services. Research has shown that minimum wage increases boost consumer spending substantially more than tax cuts do. And increasing the minimum wage reduces the strain on our social safety net caused by inadequate wages.
Decent wages at the bottom benefit the bottom line beyond boosting consumer spending. Businesses see cost savings from lower employee turnover and reduced expenses associated with hiring and training new employees. Higher wages increase productivity and improve product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation.
Raising the minimum wage will not increase unemployment. The first federal minimum wage was legislated during the Great Depression to lift wages to alleviate poverty and increase the consumer purchasing power needed for job creation and economic recovery. Minimum wage increases play the same role today. The most rigorous studies of the impact of actual minimum wage increases show they do not cause job losses – whether during periods of economic growth or during recessions.*
The minimum wage would be about $10 if it had kept up with the cost of living since the 1960s. A recent poll shows that a large majority (79%) of Maryland voters across the political spectrum would welcome a $10 minimum wage and believe it should be adjusted annually for inflation as ten states already do.
As business owners and executives, we support legislation currently before the General Assembly to gradually increase the Maryland minimum wage to $8.25 in 2011, $9.00 in 2012 and $9.75 in 2013 – and adjust it beginning in 2014 so it does not fall behind the rising cost of living. This makes good sense for our businesses, our workforce, our communities and our state.
* Research, polls and legislation are posted here.